Three players from the area will be competing in this year's 43rd annual Lions All-Star Football Classic.
Alex McKeon and Ronald Sharlou were selected from Turlock to represent this year's South team along with Pitman's Rylan Boutelle.
All three are linemen and were big assets to their teams’ success this past year that included playoff appearances for both the Bulldogs and Pride and now they will get to play together in high school for one final time.
“Well first all, I feel blessed. I worked really hard to get this far and I wish a couple other guys from Pitman came with me, but I am honored to be able to play in this football game,” said Boutelle.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to keep playing football and I will take any opportunity to keep playing football,” said Sharlou. “And I just hopes it’s a good learning experience and I am sure we will have a lot of fun out there.”
Sharlou and Boutelle will be playing football at Modesto Junior College for the upcoming fall season.
Both were essential to their teams’ success on the defensive side and in stopping the run and in stopping the points allowed.
The Bulldogs allowed 17.7 points per game in 11 contests and allowed a league low 84 points in five league contests, allowing just 16.8.
“I believe our defense was one of the best in our league and we all like to think of our defense as an elite defense because we had the solution to any offense that was thrown at us,” said Sharlou. “We were able to counter any offense.”
Pitman allowed 18.5 points per game in 10 games played and allowed 22.4 in five league games in the Central California Conference.
“Our defense was really fast this year and I felt like I fit that defense being strong and fast and shut down pass and running game,” said Boutelle.
The game will also include McKeon on the offensive side of the ball. The Bulldog center had a stout senior campaign leading a high powered offense with a dual-threat quarterback and running back.
“It honestly feels really great because I am honored and I am representing our school and it feels great to be known as an all-star and I am also with some really good friends,” said McKeon. “And it’s just an honor to be able to represent my school.”
Turlock's offense averaged 32.7 points per game during their 2015 campaign.
“My junior and senior year we were a tight-knit group and the run game was our big thing,” said McKeon. “We like to just pummel kids left and right but our main focus was up front. Our five would win games.”
Rob Cozart of Patterson High will serve as the South head coach along with his staff after an outstanding 11-1 season.
“Came back this past year from coaching junior college and we had an amazing year,” said Cozart. “Things fell in place in terms of how we wanted to play and accomplish and being able to coach this game was icing on the cake, been a great ride so far.”
Cozart and his Patterson squad were known for having one of the most unique offenses in the Stanislaus District with an explosive and up tempo rhythm that requires quickness.
“We are not going to dummy down or vanilla it,” said Cozart. “We are going to do what we do but we are going to have fun with it and run our offense at a super high Nascar speed pace, and then be athletic and attacking on defense.”
The Patterson offense averaged over 49 points per game in 12 games.
“We will do what we did this past season, no different than what I am installing at our high school, same pace and everything. We are putting as much as we can and going as fast as we can,” said Cozart. “Also we are using the 4-2-5 defense and they are monsters as well. Lots of speed getting after it.”
This year's game is being played at Wayne Schneider Stadium at Tracy High and the game kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday, with the pre-game festivities beginning at 6 p.m.