In back-to-back All-Star football games, the Turlock, Pitman, Denair and Hilmar high athletes left their marks on the winning side.
This time in the 33rd Annual North-South Rotary Bob Green Football Classic, the North squad came out and won in convincing fashion with a 30-8 final from Veterans Stadium in Merced.
“I knew from the beginning you have to keep your cool to win the game and we kept our cool throughout the first half and the better team came out on top,” said Turlock High’s Brandon Flores. “I expected it to be competitive but not a boxing match, I thought everyone would come out and play smart but it’s some dirty football, like street football and I really didn’t like it.”
Flores of Turlock was part of the both All Star football games in the Valley and was part of victories on both teams, including a win in the Lions All-Star game just a week prior.
The two teams that involved the Turlock, Pitman, Denair and Hilmar players outscored their opponents in the games a combined 54-10.
“As you can tell, the Central Valley, the 209, we play how we are supposed to play, clean and smart — it’s how we play, the better team came out on top,” said Flores.
Of the original 12 scheduled to participate, nine competed on Saturday from Veterans Stadium at Golden Valley High School in Merced.
Turlock High’s Gabe Cordero, Dallin Tilby and Brandon Flores joined Denair’s Blake Davis once again, after the four shared a spot on the Lions All-Star squad just a week prior for the South.
They won 24-2.
The squad also added Turlock’s Dom Nunes and Alex Arroyo. Hilmar’s Tristan Crowley and Carter Azevedo also played for the North. Brock Fusi and Tyler Etharidge were scheduled to play but got injured and did not participate.
Tilby tacked on the first points of the game when he drilled a 48-yard field goal with ease in the first quarter with 42 seconds left to give the North a 3-0 lead.
Crowley of Hilmar then connected with Patterson’s James Perez for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 9:28 in the second quarter to make it 10-0.
Crowley, along with Azevedo were essential in the Yellowjackets’ Section title run this past fall as Hilmar won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VI Championship after squeaking into the playoffs with a 5-5 record.
The offense was anchored by Crowley with Azevedo assisting as a utility and scorer and they got to showcase their talent once more.
“The tempo is definitely a lot faster so it is great coming from a small school to see what the bigger schools have to offer,” said Azevedo. “Speed wise it’s just a lot faster and one of the players I noticed that is very fast is Gabriel Cordero (Turlock) he’s pretty good at linebacker, he is super-fast and just a different level than the linebackers we have in our league, but it was nice to be chosen and recognized.”
Ramon Machuca of Downey added on another touchdown for the North when Cordero forced a fumble then Machuca scooped the loose ball and returned it for 80 yards to make it 17-0 with 5:02 left in the first half.
The North scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter to go up 30-0 by the time the clock read 7:54 in the third.
“Honestly all this has been hella fun. We just came together from different teams, and it’s been fun,” said Nunes. “When we started we knew this team would be rough and wouldn’t be as disciplined as we were and it showed on the field tonight.”
The North defense finished with two touchdowns scored for the game.
“It’s crazy, it’s cool and fun to be able to play with all these players from all these teams,” Baker added. “I just had to make the school look as good as we can here one last time.”
The South finally scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion with 9:58 left in the fourth.
“Two times in a row feels great, I am glad to be out here, thank God for my coaches since without them I wouldn’t be where I am,” Flores added. “Also winning out my first three years was great and we finished it our senior year, winning every single CCC game we played in, but you have to play smart, you can’t play mad. You can but you have to be smart as well.”
“It’s just straight joy since we put a lot of time and effort into our practices and it’s nice to see it all pay off as well because we went hard at practice and pushed each other and it worked out,” Azevedo added.