The 22nd Alex Spanos All-Star Classic will match the top senior high school football players in San Diego County on Friday, July 13, at Mesa College.
Kick-off is 7 p.m.
The game, which is presented in conjunction with the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego High School Sports Association, allows those players selected an opportunity to perform one last time in front of friends and family before they continue their careers at the collegiate level.
Olympian High School coach Gil Warren and his staff have been selected to coach the South team; Westview’s Mike Woodward will coach the North team.
The South team defeated the North team, 27-7, in last year’s match-up. The competitive fire appears strong in this year’s South team judging by talking with players at Tuesday’s practice at Olympian High School.
“Even when I wasn’t playing football, I went to these games,” said Nico Siragusa, a former all-state offensive tackle for Mater Dei Catholic who will be among the sizable Metro Conference contingent represented on the South team.
“It’s an honor to be selected to play in the game.”
Siragusa has impressed Warren thus far in practice. In fact, the ex-Crusader has impressed a lot of other coaches as well at other levels of the game.
Siragusa is striving to become a starter at right guard as a true freshman on this fall’s San Diego State University football team.
At six feet, five inches tall and weighing in at 315 pounds, Siragusa already appears to have met the college-size requirements for the position.
“I’m hoping,” he said in advance of the Aztecs’ 2012 football camp.
Siragusa said while linemen often do not receive their fair share of the glory, that’s fine with him.
“My motivation is winning games, making first downs and helping my team score touchdowns,” he said. “As an offensive lineman, knowing that we scored a touchdown, you don’t need the (personal) glory.”
Devon Flores is one of five Olympian players on this year’s South roster. They form a unique brotherhood: the first group of Eagles to make it to a division championship game.
“It was a great experience for our team,” said Flores, the 184-pound champion and outstanding upper weight award-winner at last winter’s Metro wrestling finals. “The coaches pushed us well and all the players pushed each other all through the season.”
Olympian defeated resident power Eastlake to win the 2011 Mesa League championship but faltered against section heavyweight Cathedral Catholic in the Division III title game at Qualcomm Stadium.
“It felt good getting there,” Flores said. “It would have been a bonus for us to win. It’s an honor to be a member of the first (Olympian) team to get there. I was blessed by God to have played with all the good players I did.”
A linebacker, Flores is headed to Minot State in North Dakota to compete in both football and wrestling. He called it an honor to be named to compete in the Spanos All-Star Classic.
“There’s a lot of good players not only from Olympian and the South Bay but from all over South San Diego County,” he said. “I want to represent the South with pride.”
Hanging them up
Hilltop grad Omar Hernandez and Eastlake alum Josh Palet are among the four quarterbacks listed on the South team’s roster. But neither intends to toss the pigskin around after the end of Friday’s game.
Hernandez is planning on continuing his education sans sports while Palet will attend UC Riverside on a baseball scholarship.
“It’s been a while since anybody from Hilltop has been selected to play in this all-star game, so there’s a little bit of pride in there,” said Hernandez, who threw for 4,271 yards and 32 touchdowns while rushing for 1,956 yards and scoring 27 TDs during three varsity seasons with the Lancers.
“This is my last game,” said Palet, a pitcher on the Titans’ 2012 Mesa League championship team. “I want to go out a winner, put up some good numbers and have some fun with my friends.”
Palet helped guide Eastlake to the 2010 Metro-Mesa League championship title. In two years as the Titans’ varsity starter, he compiled some flattering numbers for a team that often went to the run for its success.
Palet threw for 971 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior and 1,271 yards and eight TDs as a senior.
He was a first team all-league pick in football last fall and a second team selection on this spring’s all-league baseball team. He finished 6-3 on the mound with a 2.45 earned-run average.
Hernandez was a four-sport athlete while at Hilltop, competing in football, basketball, soccer and track and field. He was named the 2011 Metro-South Bay League Offensive Player of the Year in football.
He helped the Lancers to back-to-back runner-up finishes in the restructured Metro-South Bay League for football and helped lead Hilltop to a runner-up finish in the San Diego Section Division II championship game for soccer.
Hernandez led the Lancers in scoring with 25 goals and seven assists to rank as one of the section’s top scorers.
He handled Hilltop’s place-kicking assignments during the football season, booting a 53-yard field goal.
“There were a lot of great memories,” said Hernandez, a first team all-league football and soccer pick in 2011-12. “I got player of the week once in football and had a story written about me. It was a great season in soccer — we went all the way to the finals.”
Among the soccer awards he pocketed during the winter sports season were first team all-division and second team all-section honors.
The South team, which will be coached by Olympian’s Gil Warren, includes players from the Metro, Grossmont and City conferences. The North team, which will be coached by Westview’s Mike Woodward, will draw its primary talent from the North County Conference.
The South defeated the North, 27-7, to win last year’s game, though the North leads 10-7 in the series in its current format.
The Spanos Classic, now in its 22nd year, is the longest running high school all-star football game in the state.
Kearny’s Shawn Boose and El Capitan’s Josh Murphy are also listed at the QB position for the South team. Boose and Olympian’s Devon Flores will serve as the South’s co-captains.
Metro players named to the South roster also include linebackers Arturo Cuevas and Santana Leomiti and lineman Ramiro Ramirez, all from Olympian; wide receiver Isaac Martinez and lineman Mike Molina, both from Chula Vista; Eastlake linemen Arturo Hurtado and Gabe Casillas; Otay Ranch wide receiver David Mondy; Sweetwater defensive back Daniel Castro; linebacker Andrew Martinez and lineman Nico Siragusa, both from Mater Dei Catholic; linemen Victor Vellaverde and Sean Sullivan, both from Mar Vista; Bonita Vista lineman Sean Fuimaono; and Castle Park lineman Paul Sierra
SAN DIEGO FOOTBALL CAMP
The second annual camp will run July 12-14 at Mater Dei Catholic High School under the direction of former Crusader and current NFL Cleveland Browns offensive guard Stanley Daniels. The camp, which starts at 10 a.m. each day, will feature several NFL clinicians, including 2011 Super Bowl champion Jarrett Bush of the Green Bay Packers. Any high school student may register. For information, visit the Web site at www.sdfootballcamp.com.