Two all-star games were played Monday, December 30th at Great Oak High School in Temecula in the inaugural All-West Coast Football Classic. “This is a wonderful event to bring to our city,” said Diane Lombardo, vice-president of sales and marketing for the Temecula Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We hope to make this an annual event,” said Ivan Barajas, director of the National Underclassmen Combines (NUC).
The West Youth All-Star team featured three local quarterbacks as well as two signal callers from Seattle and New Jersey. There were three players from Las Vegas as well as players from Arizona, San Diego and the Inland Empire. The California Youth team was comprised mainly of southern California players. Local players participating included: Jeremy Harris, Edward Calhoun, Kevon Hudson, Donovan Laie, Chuck Wick, Camer Beautroa, Jaden Casey, Trevor Chase, Moses Tavaliili, and Nick Ruffilo.
“It’s nice having talented players at every position,” said West defensive coordinator Joe Walker, owner and senior trainer at Elite Athletes in Murrieta, “The team came together well after only two days of practices.” The West team went on to win the 1 pm game 28-14.
The evening game of the 2013 All-West Football Classic included senior players from California and Hawaii on one team and players from Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado on the other. The West team also included players from as far away as Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Alberta (Canada). The California team was comprised of players from local teams: Centennial, Norco, Upland, Paloma Valley, San Pasqual, Mission Bay, Long Beach, Bishop Alemany, Great Oak, Mayfair, Chaparral, Helix and others. Valley players included Raekwon Yates from Great Oak; Brent Boehm, Bradley Taylor, Michael Valencia, and Kretien Webb from Paloma Valley High School.
Paloma Valley Head Coach Bert Esposito and Reginald Harris, Assistant Head Coach of perennial powerhouse Grant High School in Sacramento coached the California team. Team California dominated the West All-Stars 14-8.
Players and teams were housed at the Temecula Creek Inn, Marriott Springhill Suites, and the Embassy Suites; meals were provided by Chick-Fil-A and Subway. The All-Madden XBox Tournament was held at the Embassy Suites on Saturday night. Sunday night’s awards Dinner was held at the Pechanga Resort.
The National Underclassmen Combine organization provides showcase events for athletes — combines, Ultimate 100 Camps, 7-on-7 competitions, Trench Warfare (for linemen) camps, combine prep clinics and position prep clinics — around the nation. Athletes are evaluated by grade level, ranked, and provided opportunities to showcase their skills and to learn about recruiting at the next levels. The organization also holds the Top Prospects Camps for the top high school players in the country.
Over 1300 NUC alumni signed for D-1 scholarships in 2013; over thirty NUC alumni were drafted in the NFL draft last year. Recent NUC alumni include: Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Landon Collins, Case McCoy, Kenny Vacarro, Tajh Boyd, Joe Haden, Eric Ebron, Robert Woods, Marcus Lattimore and more.
NUC is planning another major event in the area: “Kings of Cali” 7-on-7 tournament as part of the National Championship Series. Youth and Club teams will compete in March and the High Schools Edition will be in July. An updated list of Combines can be found online at www.NationalUnderclassmen.com.