Last weekend was Prep All-Star Football Weekend that was highlighted by two high school football all-star classics.
It started Saturday night at Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach, which hosted the 49th Annual West Torrance Lions All-Star Classic. On Sunday, the first West Coast Prep Football All-Star Classic was held at the Home Depot Center on the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus in Carson.
The West Coast consisted of top Southern California high school players and it was the Green team that held off the Red stars, 21-16.
In the South Bay Lions game, the Blue stars pulled away for a 43-14 win over the White squad.
In that contest, the Greens surged out to a 21-3 third quarter lead, behind two touchdown passes from quarterback Dalton Douglas of Redlands Citrus Valley. He gave the Green stars an 18-point lead when he tossed a 17-yard TD pass to Santa Margarita wide receiver River Crafaft with 4:39 left in the third period.
The Reds came storming back over the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. They scored on a 20-yard run by Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos running back Victor Bolden and an 18-yard quarterback keeper by La Canada St. Francis quarterback Jared Lebowitz.
All of the South Bay stars played for the losing Reds, who were head coached by Manuel Douglas, who guided Harbor City Narbonne High's football team to its third CIF-Los Angeles City Division I crown and a spot in the Southern California Regional Open Bowl Championship where it lost to Corona Centennial, 41-34. Centennial went on to lose the California State Open Bowl Championship to powerful Concord De La Salle, 48-28, on Dec. 15 at the Home Depot Center.
He had two of his players involved in defensive back Marquise Lomax and center Sese Tauesi. Lomax had an interception.
Inoke Raikadroka, who helped Gardena Serra High's football team capture the state Division II championship with a 42-15 win over Oakdale on Dec. 15 at the Home Depot Center, had an outstanding contest, recording three quarterback sacks.
West Torrance standout wide receiver-defensive lineman Mat Boesen saw action and had a few good plays. Boesen committed to playing football at Boise State University and is enjoying an outstanding wrestling season, as well.
In the Lions game, the first half saw mostly the Blues and Reds exchange leads, but the Blue stars grabbed the lead for good in the second quarter when Palos Verdes quarterback Bryan Scott hit Mira Costa running back Raphael Lawson-Gayle for a 7-yard touchdown pass. It was Lawson-Gayle's second TD of the game, having also score on a 1-yard run late in the first period.
Scott was one of the keys in the Sea Kings' CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship with a 35-14 victory over Bay League foe West Torrance on Dec. 1 at Long Beach City College's Veterans Stadium.
The Blues took a 22-14 lead at halftime, shortly after a 34-yard scoring pass from West Torrance quarterback Joey Notch connected with Inglewood wide receiver Terrance Harvey for a 34-yard touchdown.
Perhaps the big game breaker, though, was from Serra High defensive end Nick Usher, who recovered a fumble and raced 24 yards for the score that gave the Blues a 29-124 lead with 2:58 remaining in the third quarter.
Usher committed to playing football at University of Texas-El Paso next fall.
The Blue defense dominated the second half, also gettinig a 66-yard interception return for a TD by P.V.'s Matt Hahn.
Another White fumble helped the Blues add another touchdown, a 3-yard run from Mira Costa lineman-fullback Cory Sanicky with 5:09 to go in the game.
"I was pleased with the win," Raphael-Gayle said. "It was great being with a whole bunch of all-stars."
Raphael-Gayle is undecided on his college and he main be leaning on just playing at El Camino in the fall.
The Whites, behind record breaking North Torrance quarterback Jorge Hernandez who guided the Saxons to the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division final where they lost to Ojai Nordhoff 31-14, started well with leads of 7-0 and 14-8.
Hernandez connected with San Pedro wide receiver Josh Marshall to give the White squad a good start.
Later in the first period, the Blues took an 8-7 lead on Lawson-Gayle's scoring run that was followed by a two-point conversion run from Notch.
The Whites took a 14-8 lead with 7:29 remaining in the second quarter on a 68-yard TD run from Carson's Kendall Sparks.
The Blues were head coached by Steve Shevlin from El Segundo and the Whites guided by North's Todd Croce.
For Croce, it was a disappointing loss, already seeing the Saxons lose their fourth consecutive Southern Section championshp game, also losing in 1983 (Newhall Hart), 2001 (Ocean League foe Santa Monica) and 2004 (Encino Crespi). Croce was North's head mentor in the final three championship losses.
"It was disappointing," Croce said. "The kids were good and worked hard. Things didn't go well. It was just like what North did in the CIF finals."