65th City/County All-Star Football preview
The 65th annual City/County All-Star Football Game on Friday night is a final game for some, and a chance for others to showcase their talents locally before heading off to college.
Central Section record-holder Trent Tompkins (Central High) is among the latter; he’s destined for UC Davis, but first one final game on his home turf at Deran Koligian Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
“I wanted to play one last high school game and be with the people I have been with forever,” Tompkins said. “I wanted to get one more game in before college because sometimes that long break can affect your throwing with pads or just your overall awareness.”
Also playing is Fresno State-bound wide receiver Jalen Cropper (Buchanan) who echoed Tompkins’ thoughts.
Tompkins and Cropper are teammates on the County team.
“That’s my guy,” Cropper said. ‘We played GURU together. We have that little connection and you can see when we came out there to practice you can see we still have that connection.”
Cropper is already thinking what it would be like to get a touchdown from Tompkins, who owns several section records including career touchdown passes.
“As many as I can get,” Cropper said. “And just do what I have to do and being able to showcase what I can do.”
Wide receiver Josh Kelly (San Joaquin Memorial) is set to go to Fresno State, but not before his last high school game on Friday.
“I’m extremely excited to be out there,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being out there with my brothers Ckaelan Howard and Isaiah Chambers to finally play a high school game with them is going to be fun.”
The all-star experience included practices in the near-summer heat and fun outings to Wild Water Adventures and laser tag.
Some players made a visit to Valley Children’s Hospital on Thursday to visit patients. And Thursday night’s banquet at Pardini’s included announcements of team captains, the Fritz Lauritzen Most Inspirational awards and unveiling of a new trophy.
Kingsburg coach David Wilson leads the County, while Roosevelt coach Vince Branstetter is guiding the City.
Organizers credit Thomas J. “Soup” Caruthers and Mike Chupich for starting the City/County game and say it’s recognized as the longest-running, NCAA-sanctioned high school all-star football game in California.
County won the first contest 7-6 on Aug. 26, 1955 at Ratcliffe Stadium, but City holds a 31-23 advantage in the series. There have been three ties and seven games were played in a North-South format.
County has won the last two meetings including 10-5 last year. City had won four straight before the current County streak.
City/County All-Star Football Game
When: Friday 7:30 p.m.
Where: Deran Koligian Stadium, northeast corner of Grantland and Ashlan avenues in Fresno west of Highway 99