TURLOCK — Roger Canepa has long been a fan of power football, lining up a couple of powerful backs behind a big line and turning them loose.
It's about chewing up yards and keeping the ball, shaving time off a 48-minute game by keeping the clock running — and it works best when facing a team full of skilled players.
It's tough for the best tailback to run for touchdowns if he's standing on the sideline.
The Central Catholic coach puts his philosophy into play Saturday, when he leads the South into the 37th Lions All-Star Classic at University of the Pacific in Stockton. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
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The North has three dynamic stars — tailbacks Jarrod Daniels (Sierra) and DePray Celestine (Tracy), and receiver Josh Harper (St. Mary's) — who are a threat to score the moment they step onto the field.
The best way to keep them quiet, Canepa figures, is by turning them into spectators.
That means using big linemen, lots of big linemen, and having the patience to allow the big boys to grind the spirit out of the opposing defense.
"It's my fourth year coaching this game, and if there is one thing I've learned it's you never have enough linemen," said Canepa, who has 10 linemen on his 29-player team.
The South will have 1,600 pounds of brawn on the line, including 285-pound Mariposa tight end Cody Wichmann.
The South offense mirrors the scheme Canepa used with Central Catholic, so it puts a premium on being physical.
The line is likely to have six players from six schools that play in five leagues, so there will be little common ground.
"A lot of the plays are similar to what we ran at Merced, but there are little differences," said 6-3, 290-pound tackle Taj Brown, likely to bookend the line with 6-2, 240-pound Tim Barnard of Oakdale. "We get 12 practices including two three-a-days, and we're picking things up pretty quick."
None of the linemen played more ball last fall than Tyler Jamison, who helped Modesto Christian to the CIF Small-School state championship.
It meant playing 15 games, tying a state record for most games played in one season — but this is the last time the 285-pounder puts on his pads.
He and center Ethan Alavares of Pitman (6-3, 220) are going to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in September, Jamison to study kinesiology and Alvarez to major in dairy science.
This is their last hurrah.
"We're athletic so we're going to be able to run traps and pull linemen," Jamison said. "That will create a lot more opportunities for the backs."
Learning the offense wasn't an issue for Tyler Lee, one of Canepa's top linemen the last two seasons. He's off to play football and study biology at the University of San Diego.
"Most linemen like to deliver a hit, and this offense gives you the opportunity to hit," Lee said. "We're already looking running the quick trap."
The fun of the trap, for offensive linemen, is it gives them the chance to deliver a blow to an unsuspecting defender.
"The important thing is the linemen are athletic and will be able to get down the line on traps," Canepa said. "We're trying to keep it simple, but I'm excited about seeing this line come together and play."