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Farewell to high school football. Pride North and South. Another chance to impress college recruiters.
Those will be some of the motivating factors for players on Saturday as the Orange County North-South All-Star Classic returns after a two-year absence due to the pandemic. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Newport Harbor High.
The 62nd edition of the game, sponsored by the nonprofit Costa Mesa United and the Chargers, will give around 80 seniors their last chance to put on helmets and pads as high school players.
That’s exactly what convinced San Juan Hills senior Braden Pegan (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) on Thursday to surprisingly accept his invitation to play for the South.
South coach Robert Frith of San Juan Hills offered his catcher a spot at UCLA several weeks ago, but Pegan recently changed his mind after attending a high school basketball game. as a spectator.
“He wants to play another high school football game,” Frith said. “He wants to go out with his friends.”
Ultimately, Frith needed another wide receiver after losing Jack Fairchild to Crean Lutheran and Will Stahl to St. Margaret’s.
The North, led by Sunny Hills coach Pete Karavedas, also has several hungry players. Karavedas said the North is determined to snap the South’s six-game winning streak in the series, which the South leads 32-26-3.
“We talked about it a lot,” he said of the South streak. “We used that as a bit of motivation.”
Karavedas and Frith are also determined to help their uncommitted elders in college recruiting. Both have reached out to college coaches about their players and hope a few will be in attendance on Saturday.
“With the transfer portal and a Covid year, the class of 2022 is under-recruited, in my opinion,” Karavedas said. “We’re doing our best to get these guys out.”
Frith asked players to complete an online scouting sheet which he shared with college coaches, including Washington State. “We can help these children,” he said.
Both Karavedas and Frith think they have under-the-radar talent on their rosters.
One of the biggest upsets for the North was Yorba Linda defensive end Ryan Winners (6-3, 215), Karavedas said.
Yorba Linda coach Jeff Bailey said Winners had a “huge advantage” and also long snaps, but his recruiting was light.
“Hopefully he will impress some colleges,” Bailey said. “We’ve played against great talent all year and obviously the All-Star Game will be another example of how he plays against the best players in the county.”
Frith said Dana Hills wide receiver Broghan Daley (5-11, 180) was one of the biggest surprises in the South.
“He’s got an elite work ethic,” Dana Hills coach Tony Henney said of Daley. “We contact a plethora of schools to find him this opportunity. Whoever gives it a chance will profit from it.
The South is expected to start Cal Poly SLO-bound Dana Hills Bo Kelly at quarterback while the North will start Brea Olinda’s Justus Thongprahchanh.
Sunny Hills is known for leading the Wing-T, but Karavedas said the North will offer a more “open” version of the attack with a spread and pass option. The South will lead the spread, Frith said.