In 2010, the Hilmar High football team’s preseason looked like a prank of some sort, considering the amount of upper-division schools built into a small-school schedule — perhaps made for disaster. Beyer High, Ceres High, Enochs High and Buhach Colony High all made Hilmar’s warm-up games before the regular season the toughest in school history.
The Yellowjackets went 2-2 in the preseason after losing their starting quarterback in the third game due to a broken arm.
Trent Goiburn, the team’s tight end and linebacker, didn’t mind the competition at all. And he certainly doesn’t mind it now, as he knows the experience will help him in today’s 38th annual Central California Lions All-Star Football Game at the University of Pacific’s Stagg Memorial Stadium in Stockton — an event that begins at 7 p.m. and brings together some of the best talents within the Stanislaus District, including those from big-school programs.
“You’re around more talent, so you gotta get better,” said Goiburn, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder who will play tight end, defensive tackle and outside linebacker for the Turlock High’s James Peterson-coached South team. “And you’re getting better when you’re going up against better guys.”
Like his South teammates, Goiburn hadn’t worn helmets and pads in about seven months and did little football-related activity. Prior to this week’s All-Star boot camp on the Cal State Stanislaus campus, he said he mostly prepared for today’s game by visiting the weight room occasionally, going out for runs and exercising his mind for one of the most exciting moments of his football career.
At the same time, he’s not nervous. He’s adjusting well to his new teammates, with some of them being bigger, stronger and faster than what he saw at Hilmar.
“You can tell those Hilmar guys did a really good job coaching him up,” Peterson said. “He’s got a never-quit attitude. He just hustles, hustles, hustles. He’s got a motor. Guys who got motors, they can come to games like this against bigger, stronger guys and hold their own.”
Goiburn, who plans to continue football at Merced College in the fall, will approach today’s All-Star event like any other game. And that’s with the hope of winning — the attitude he and his Hilmar teammates carried during the school’s toughest preseason schedule in 2010. One of the highlights in that run happened against Ceres, when the Yellowjackets overcame a 20-point deficit to win 21-20.
“I’m glad I’m representing Hilmar,” said Goiburn, who was also a part of the Hilmar team that won the 2008 Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Championship. “I’m the only person, so I gotta represent it good, do my best and show them what Hilmar is all about.”
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