Jordan Porter and Gabriel Cordero know a little bit about playing on a dominant defense. Both recently graduated from Turlock High and played on a Bulldogs defense that was the backbone of Turlock’s Central California Conference championship team last season.
So it wasn’t a surprise when both Porter and Cordero played leading roles for a South defense that overwhelmed the North on its way to a 24-2 win in the 45th annual Central California Lions All-Star Football Game at Tracy High’s Wayne Schneider Stadium on Saturday night.
Porter was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for his contributions on both sides of the ball. He caught four passes for 53 yards. He also picked up a fumble caused by Cordero in the fourth quarter and ran 50 yards for a touchdown that gave the South a 17-2 lead to put the game out of reach.
“Gabriel and I have been playing together since we were 6 years old,” Porter said. “He caused the fumble. I saw the ball pop out and my eyes got so big. I just picked it up and I was off and running.”
Cordero was named the Defensive Player of the Game. He had six tackles and a sack in just the first half alone.
He also scored the game's first touchdown that gave the South a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. Cordero took the ball around the left end and out-raced a defender for the corner of the end zone.
“The play was supposed to go up the middle,” Cordero said. “I saw that the outside linebacker bit in and I saw nothing but green grass outside. Thank God I got in the end zone.”
Another Turlock player, Dallin Tilby, gave the South its first points of the game with a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter.
The only points the North would score came on a safety in the fourth quarter when Patterson quarterback Gabe Sanchez was tackled in the end zone to cut the South lead to 10-2 with 11:38 left in the game.
The North couldn’t get anything going against the South. The North turned the ball over four times with Patterson’s Kendrick Bond intercepting two passes and Buhach Colony’s Irik Dobbins intercepting another.
The North also couldn’t convert when it mattered most, going 0-for 8 on fourth downs.
The South also briefly knocked both North quarterbacks out of the game. For a short time, Brookside Christian running back Rueben Lee had to take the snap as the North attempted to run a "Wildcat" formation until Lincoln quarterback Quintin Gaines was able to return.
“We just shut them down,” Dobbins said. “I don’t think they scored on us. Their only points came when we were on offense. When we needed to come up big, we did and shut them down.”
Dobbins' interception and long return set up the South’s last touchdown. Los Banos quarterback Anthony Caballero scored on a 14-yard run to extend the lead to 24-2 in the final minute.
“I saw their big guy (Oyebolaji Akinyemi), he bit big on the fake,” Caballero said. “I got him to take one step and then I pulled the ball. I knew it would be wide open.”
The South is now 5-0-1 in the past six years against the North.