Ex-Orestimba, Gustine standouts to team up for South in all-star game

The last time Daryle Pacheco and Felix Figueroa ran into each other, they did just that — Pacheco was squaring his shoulders to hit Figueroa as he broke through the line.

That confrontation came in November, when West Side rivals Orestimba and Gustine battled in their season finale.

Pacheco had the night of his career in Orestimba's 16-6 victory, piling up rushing yards and tackles. Figueroa, however, struggled to get away from Pacheco and his teammates.

Figueroa won't have to worry about escaping Pacheco's grip tonight: They'll both suit up for the South in the 19th Small Schools All-Star Football Game at Waterford High.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Figueroa is no doubt excited about teaming with Pacheco, rather than trying to run by the outside 'backer. The statistical disparity in their last meeting was surprising.

Pacheco had 162 yards, seven solo tackles, a sack and an interception; Figueroa had 15 carries for 12 yards, but he did have 81 yards receiving.

Both will be busy tonight.

The South is thin at receiver and its top skill players are running backs, including Figueroa, Pacheco, Big Valley's Blake Sturdivan and Mariposa's Kylan Brocchini. Sturdivan ran for 1,598 yards and 30 TDs, while Brocchini had 1,594 yards and 20 TDs.

The North has big-play potential with its top receivers — Amador's Patrick Calestini and Linden's Beau Slaton averaged 22 and 18 yards per catch, respectively — but the quarterbacks come from programs that prefer to run it.

Argonaut's John Hickman, while not throwing often, had the skill to hit receivers downfield when given the opportunity. He averaged 15 yards a completion, throwing nine TDs and two interceptions.

The North has won five consecutive games, and is an annual favorite since it draws players from powerful Escalon and the Mother Lode League — schools much larger than in the south region.

Bee staff writer Rich Estrada can be reached at or 578-2300.