What do you do next after you win an all-star football game?
You try to win another, of course.
The 24th North/South Rotary All-Star Game, to be contested Friday night at Chowchilla High, shows off a special hook. Thirty-six players from both rosters won an all-star game last weekend at the Lions game in either Stockton or the City-County game in Fresno. The County rallied from behind to win 21-20.
"We have a lot of guys who are excited to keep it going," said Chowchilla's Bob Green, the game's founder and director.
The standouts who carried the South to a 19-3 win last week in Stockton — the South's first victory in seven years — will lead the North at Chowchilla. Among them are Central Valley quarterback Trevor Mew, the Lions MVP, who passed for 177 yards and three touchdowns in the South's victory. One of those TDs went to Hodari Peterson of Buhach Colony. Meanwhile, defense MVP T.J. Belton of Central Catholic recovered two fumbles and punctuated the game with run-stuffing tackles.
The North team, which finished its third and final workout Wednesday, was relieved to see Hilmar linebacker Carl Jameson in camp. Jameson suffered what was later diagnosed as a deflated lung during the first half of the Lions game and was released from the hospital Wednesday. He will not play Friday night.
The Rotary game was started as a showcase for small-schools talent. Green, 69, the former principal at Chowchilla who coached the Ceres Bulldogs from 1977 through '80, nurtured a series which mushroomed from 16 participating schools at its beginning to 48 today.
Chowchilla has served as the game's home since 1986. Since then, the game has been expanded to include large schools from both sides of the Sac-Joaquin and Central Section border.
"We still represent small schools," Green qualified. "I was at Avenal when we had a great player who wasn't selected. This young man could have played anywhere. I felt, 'This is not right,' and we started our own all-star game."
The first drew 3,000 in Coalinga. It developed its own format over the years, one that differs in major ways from the older Lions game.
The Rotary fills larger rosters but mandates that all feeder schools are represented. Lions coaches run their teams through 10 practices preceding the game while the Rotary schedules only three.
"It's not as intense as the Lions game," said South coach Dennis Stubbs, the veteran coach from Los Banos who guided his team to victory last week in Stockton. "The kids know each other in the Lions game. Most of the players in the Rotary game don't know each other or in some cases don't even know the other schools. This is like a geography lesson."
That said, the game's history sparkles. Eight participants eventually reached the Super Bowl, among them Bernard Berrian of Atwater (Chicago Bears), Cameron Worrell of Chowchilla (Bears) and Logan Mankins of Mariposa (New England). Six Rotary "graduates" appeared in Super Bowl XLI, the Indianapolis Colts' victory over Chicago in 2007.
Mankins was not heavily recruited out of Mariposa, but his career gained momentum following a dominating performance in the Chowchilla game.
"He was like a road-grader in that game," remembered Green, a Modesto High graduate. "We let Pat Hill know at Fresno State and Mankins just took off."
Stubbs, coaching in his third Rotary game, seeks his first win. The South leads the series 13-10.
North All-Stars — Larry Taylor, Patterson; John Mobley, Atwater; Bernard Bolden, Merced; Nick Batteate, Oakdale; Isaiah Mendez-Borba, Oakdale; Kyle Hopper, Waterford; Kyle Davey, Buhach Colony; Adrian Abarca, Golden Valley; Eddie Beavers, Merced; Trevor Mew, Central Valley; Rob Diepersloot, Chowchilla; Donovan Smith, Hilmar; Kyle Espinola, Chowchilla; Fred Gaines, Chowchilla; Daryle Pacheco, Orestimba; Hodari Peterson, Buhach Colony; Victor Sanchez, Golden Valley; Humberto DelRio, Dos Palos; Hector Gomez, Dos Palos; T.J. Belton, Central Catholic; Jake Barcellos, Los Banos; Dexter Coward, Atwater; Hugh Ewing, Hilmar; Kenny Cooper, Chowchilla; Dylan Wood, Chowchilla; David DeJager, Chowchilla; Nathan Mayfield, Merced; Mason Russell, Turlock; Kylan Brocchini, Mariposa; Randy Preciado, Firebaugh; Jake Filippini, Gustine; Daniel Gutierrez, Chowchilla; Justin Hidahl, Ceres; Kacey Stout, Oakdale; Manuel Lira, Los Banos; William DeLaCruz, Central Catholic; Daniel Wright, Turlock Christian; Damon Bragner, Los Banos; Wesley O'Brien, Hilmar; Renaud Freels, Merced; Shawn Howell, Denair; Cody Hall, Turlock; Elliott Williams, Atwater; Rubal Sangha, Los Banos; Zech Deges, Los Banos; Ronyea Ellington, Patterson; Carl Jameson, Hilmar; Silvestre Yanez, Firebaugh; Stephon Fonsworth, Central Valley; Eulisis Gutierrez, Firebaugh; Eddie Flores, Turlock.
Head coach — Dennis Stubbs, Los Banos