By DAN GOLDMAN
Players may have been a little rusty and the action a little sloppy, but what else can you expect from an old-timers game?
Granted, the old-timers playing in Fridays ninth annual Small Schools All-Star Football Game at Modesto Junior College are not even two months into their post-prep careers, but the Class of 2001 might as well get used to hearing the word former used when discussing their playing days.
As in, former Sonora High School standout Zach Raphael led the six-player Sonora contingent by being named the games most outstanding defensive back despite being on the losing end of a 17-7 decision as a member of the North squad. Raphael earned Sonoras first player-award in Small-School game history by recording one-half sack in the second quarter and breaking up a pass and stuffing Hilmars Eric Habit for a five-yard loss in the fourth quarter.
Zach played a great game; hes a tremendous athlete, North coach Roger Canepa of Calaveras said. He played very well defensively, but if anything, I think it was his one-handed catch that won him the award.
Raphaels clutch catch came midway through the second quarter after South had taken a 3-0 lead. On third-and-three, former Summerville quarterback Mike Gisi launched a pass from the Souths 43-yard line that Raphael brought in with an acrobatic, twisting catch, giving the North a first down on Souths 21-yard line.
Five plays later, Amadors Kyle Stowers scored on a five-yard run with 5:22 remaining in the second quarter. After Sonoras Brandon Roberson
kicked the conversion, the North had its only lead of the game at 7-3, which it took into halftime.
I thought it was going well at halftime, Canepa said. We were moving the ball and our defense was playing well. But they wore us down defensively in the second half. They were gaining four yards at a time it was a slow death.