The high school all-star football game saved from despair returns Friday night with a new NFL friend in its corner and two teams with contrasting styles.
It will be an intriguing 7 p.m. kickoff for the renamed Orange County All-Star Classic at Orange Coast College, just 12 weeks after the nearly 60-year-old game was cancelled by the game’s longtime organizers.
Costa Mesa United, a non-profit organization that focuses on youth sports, took the game’s reins in May after the Brea Lions pulled the plug because of struggles securing a stadium and date for the game. The United group later joined forces with the newly-relocated Los Angeles Chargers, who will train this summer in Costa Mesa.
Orange County All-Star Classic
At Orange Coast College, Friday, 7 p.m.
Click here for the team rosters.
The Chargers delivered a $10,000 sponsorship to Costa Mesa United to help save the game, the team confirmed Thursday.
The Chargers will have inflatables and banners at the game, as well as some of their personnel. Center Max Tuerk (Santa Margarita High, USC), tight end Sean McGrath, defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi and General Manager Tom Telesco are expected to be part of the pregame ceremonies.
The night will then belong to about 80 high school seniors. After nearly missing their chance to play in the 58th edition of the game, the contest will be streamed live on chargers.com. It will also air on KDOC-TV on July 1 at 10 p.m. and later on Cox’s new HD YurView channels.
“Our initial thought was, let’s just save the game,” said Frank Albers, a board member with Costa Mesa United. “It’s turned into a great event. … We’ve worked hard.”
So have the players. They practiced at Costa Mesa and Estancia high schools, an arrangement Albers credits to the support of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.
North coach Charlie TeGantvoort said his team’s strength appears to be on the offensive and defensive lines. He said Tustin’s Shaquille Alapati (6-3, 320) and Orange Lutheran’s CJ Murray (6-3, 285) were standout linemen in practice. Alapati has signed with Colorado Mesa, and Murray with Northern Arizona.
“We’re very big, both sides of the ball,” TeGantvoort said.
TeGantvoort’s Santa Ana High team featured a punishing ground attack during…