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South holds on for Wedemeyer victory
By RYAN SILAPAN
July 17, 2016
SANTA CLARA, CA — The 42nd annual Charlie Wedemeyer All-Star football game gave one last chance for players throughout the Santa Clara Valley to put on the pads and have one final game against high school competition.
For some, they will continue their careers at the next level, but for others Sunday evening it was the last time they will put on a helmet and shoulder pads for competition.
Jake Holton made the most of his final game as a football player, as the Los Gatos High graduate and linebacker had two interceptions, including an 89-yard pick-six, in leading the South All-Stars to a 23-20 victory over the North All-Stars Sunday night at Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.
"It was awesome," Holton said of his 89-yard pick-six. "To be able to do that, especially here on the big stage, is something I will never forget."
Holton was thrilled to be able to put a helmet and shoulder pads on one last time and compete, especially at the $1.3 billion stadium.
Just getting the chance to walk through the same tunnels and play on the same field the 49ers call home made playing in this All-Star game so special.
"Walking in the locker room and being able to get the full experience, I'm just thankful," Holton said. "Levi's set us up proper, we got everything given to us, I'm just so thankful. To be able to finish my last game of high school football like that it can't get much better."
The South built up a 13-0 advantage after Chrisotpher High alums Matt Adamkiewicz and P.J. Reichert connected for an 11-yard touchdown with 3:23 remaining in the first quarter, before Holton's 89-yard interception return, which ended an 11-play drive by the North.
Milpitas alum Cesar Silva connected on a 47-yard field goal to cut the North's deficit to 13-3 going into halftime.
Both squads each had 10 days to prepare for the All-Star game, which drew an estimated crowd of 2,000 people to the event.
During that time, former rivals became friends and new bonds were born.
"After a couple days of practice we started becoming friends and feeling like a family," Oak Grove alum Rashaan Fontenette said. "It was nice to have that and I love it. It's beautiful."
Fontenette — the 2015 Prep2Prep Central Coast Section Player of the Year — will continue his playing career this fall at College of San Mateo and rushed for a game-high 40 yards on 15 carries, including a touchdown in the win for the South.
The North was able to knot the game at 13-13 following back-to-back scoring drives.
Following an interception by Milpitas alum Mikey Pyle, the South scored its first touchdown of the game three plays later when Piedmont Hills alum and quarterback Marcus Romero was able to score on a one-yard quarterback sneak.
After forcing a turnover on the South's ensuing drive, the North tied the game on a Silva 34-yard field goal.
The South responded on its next offensive drive with a 16-play 77-yard drive, capped by a Fontenette one-yard touchdown run.
"I feel good, I think I could've done a little better to be honest," Fontenette said. "But we just all got back in pads after not being in them for a long time, but we still did good. Even though it was a close win, a win is a win no matter what."
The South would take a 10-point lead with 4:38 left in the game when Santa Teresa alum and kicker Troy Sanchez converted a 37-yard field goal.
The North wouldn't go down quitely, though, as Romero would hit King's Academy alum Paul Majchrowicz for a 14-yard touchdown pass, cutting the South's lead to 23-20 with 1:01 left in the game.
Needing an onside kick recovery to have a realistic chance of tying or winning the game, the North was not able to do so.
Regardless, playing and coaching at Levi's Stadium was something each and every one of the players and coaches treasured on Saturday.
"It was a nice experience," said Pyle, who will play this fall for San Jose State. "It was fun meeting new people, connecting with others, and just having a good time out there."
Added South head coach Mark Krail: "I felt like the guys were together and were playing for each other. At the end that's what it's about in this sport."