Spanos All-Star Classic game puts wrap on prep football season

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With four San Diego Section teams playing in state bowl championship games last weekend, not all the talented senior players in the section were available to compete in Saturday’s 29th annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic at San Diego Mesa College.

But the talented players who were available put on a good show in their final gridiron performance in front of hometown fans.

This year’s game between the designated North and South teams highlighted defense, in particular, as the North won by a score of 14-7 to collect its fourth consecutive win in the series.

With four San Diego Section teams playing in state bowl championship games last weekend, not all the talented senior players in the section were available to compete in Saturday’s 29th annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic at San Diego Mesa College.

But the talented players who were available put on a good show in their final gridiron performance in front of hometown fans.

This year’s game between the designated North and South teams highlighted defense, in particular, as the North won by a score of 14-7 to collect its fourth consecutive win in the series.

The North now leads 14-11 in its current format. The game is the longest-running high school all-star football game in the state.

Steele Canyon coach Scott Longerbone served as the South team’s head coach.

East County offensive standouts named to play in the game included Steele Canyon quarterback Nathan Barnett, Steele Canyon running back Kenneth Watson and Helix slot receiver Chris Rivera.

Defensive standoutss included linebackers Jagger Giles (Helix), Jacob Ray (Helix) and Bryce Riepl (Christian) as well as defensive ends Garrett Rosenthal (Christian) and Juwan Dennis (Granite Hills).

Linemen included Noah Medeiros (Granite Hills), Manu Maosi (Mount Miguel), Nathan Jones (West Hills), Sommer Audeh (Steele Canyon), Nathan Adams (Helix), Isaiah Jatta (Helix) and Mason Tiela (Granite Hills).

Helix’s Chase Osborne served as holder on place-kicks.

The South took a 7-0 lead when Otay Ranch quarterback Puka Stewart connected with University City’s Casey Granfors for a 52-yard touchdown strike.

A fumble just before halftime set up a 30-yard field goal by San Marcos’s Caleb Mancini to trim the South lead to 7-3.

An interception by La Costa Canyon’s Luke Kay late in the third quarter set up Mancini for a 44-yard field goal that closed the gap to 7-6.

Torrey Pines’ Evan Galluzzi scored the game-winning points on a fourth quarter touchdown run.

Stewart and Barnett combined for 100 passing yards. The South duo was sacked six times, including three times by North MVP Leo Speidel from Torrey Pines.

Not surprisingly in a game in which defense prevailed, Eastlake linebacker Josh McCurty was named the South MVP.

The South defense held the North offense to 91 rushing yards and 127 passing yards. However, the North’s defense otherwise dominated by holding the South to just 49 rushing yards.

State champions

All six San Diego Section divisional football champions qualified for this year’s state playoffs.

Four of the six won regional championships to advance to last weekend’s state championship contests.

The San Diego Cavers emerged as the section’s lone state champion after rallying to defeat host Colfax, 21-10, in Saturday’s Division 5-A contest played in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. It is the first state title for the Cavers, who ended the season with 12 consecutive wins.

San Diego defeated Kearny, 42-14, to win the Division IV section title Nov. 23 at Southwestern College.

The Cavers finish the season 12-2; Colfax, which entered Saturday’s game undefeated, finished its season 13-1.

Mo Jackson scored two second-half touchdowns for the Cavers.

Raiden Hunter, who made a spectacular 23-yard touchdown catch to end the first half, set up Jackson’s second touchdown on a 60-yard interception return.

Colfax led early by a score of 10-0 before the San Diego visitors ended the game, which was played in temperatures in the mid-40s, with 21 unanswered points.

Cathedral Catholic, the section’s reigning Open Division champion, dropped a gritty 21-14 overtime Division 1-AA contest last Friday to Folsom, ranked seventh in the nation. The state title is the second consecutive for Folsom, which defeated Helix, 49-42, last year.

Cathedral Catholic previously won state titles in 2008 and 2016. Shawn Poma, the section’s offensive player of the year, rushed for 151 yards in this year’s state title game loss.

The Lincoln Hornets, the 2018 Division II section champions, dropped a 21-7 decision to Menlo-Atherton in Saturday’s Division 3-AA state championship game to finish the season 11-5.

Meanwhile, Division V section champion Orange Glen lost, 24-13, to San Francisco Lincoln in the Division 6-A state bowl game, also on Saturday in Northern California.

Orange Glen (10-4) made a major turnaround from its 1-9 season a year ago.

San Diego defeated visiting Linfield Christian from Temecula, 42-31, to win the Southern California regional title on Dec. 1. That same night, Orange Glen topped Los Angeles Locke, 22-14, to advance.

In So Cal finals on Nov. 30, Cathedral Catholic topped visiting Narbonne, 24-21, while Lincoln won a high-scoring game in Culver City, 54-42.

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