For the second straight year, defense ruled in the City/County All-Star Football Game.
City broke a two-game losing streak in the series with a 15-13 victory at Deran Koligian Stadium.
With the teams tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter, a bad snap on a County punt went out of the end zone for a safety, pushing City ahead.
Then with County playing from inside its 5-yard line, former Clovis West High linebacker Thomas Curran nabbed an interception and returned it to the 1, from where quarterback Angel Maldonado (Roosevelt) scored for a 15-7 lead.
“I knew that I was going to get in, I just had to get the snap,” Maldonado said.
County answered, driving to score on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Trent Tompkins (Central) to Preston Conti (Minarets) with 3 minutes left. County couldn’t convert a two-point try but forced a City punt for a final possession.
A defensive pass interference penalty aided in County’s drive to a 22-yard field goal try, but Jacob Levato (Bullard) blocked the kick with 1:08 left to seal the win.
It was the 32nd game in the series that teams combined to score less than 30 points. County won last year’s game 10-5.
City coach Vince Branstetter (Roosevelt) said that it wasn’t a big surprise that the defenses stole the show, given the limited preparation time. “In your mind, as a coach, you always think that you’re going to prepare the best you can and go out and execute, but with five days of practice and getting kids there on time, it’s a difficult thing.”
Fresno State recruit Jalen Cropper (Buchanan) was not in the County lineup.
MVPs: Maldonado; Milton Clements, Central.
Captains: City Offense, Maldonado; City Defense, Jason Hunt, Edison; County Offense, Tompkins; County Defense, Steven Scheidt, Buchanan.
Fritz Lauritzen Most Inspirational Awards: City, Alonzo Pollard, Fresno; County, Lisandro Solorio, Fowler.