County beats City in All-Star Classic football game
Brian Alvarado has been one of the Central Section’s most prolific running backs the past three years.
The standout from Division IV Coalinga High showed Friday night that his game stands up well against competition from any level.
Alvarado rushed for a game-high 86 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries to lead the County to a 22-21 victory over City during the 58th annual City/County All-Star Classic football game at Lamonica Stadium.
Alvarado was in on two of the biggest plays during crunch time: his 2-yard touchdown run that put County in position to take the lead with 3:00 left, and a crucial 6-yard run on a fourth-and-2 play that allowed his team to milk all but the final 39 seconds off the clock.
“I had something to prove to these big boys, coming from Division IV,” said Alvarado, who rushed for 5,405 yards and scored 66 touchdowns — the No. 8 and No. 16 totals in section history — during his three varsity seasons. “I felt I could show them I could hang.”
Alvarado’s fourth-quarter touchdown preceded a fake point-after play where the Central connection of holder Shakiem Barbel and fullback Brandon Feagaimaalii connected for the go-ahead 2-point conversion.
“It was a gutsy call, but the risk was worth it,” Barbel said. “I felt really confident throwing it to Brandon. He’s got hands and I had faith in him.”
After Josh Gibbs (Madera) recovered a fumble on City’s next possession, Alvarado came up with the play that essentially sealed the outcome, when he converted a fourth down with 2:31 left.
“I wanted to seal the deal,” Alvarado said.
Terrel Green (Edison) put City ahead 21-14 with a little more than 7 minutes left in the third when he caught a halfback-option pass from Patrick Johnson (Sunnyside).
Green had set the score up with an electrifying 25-yard punt return where he twice reversed course across the field.
After falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, City tied the score 14-14 with 1.8 seconds left in the first half on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Ian Hall (Clovis West) to Green. It capped a 15-play, 57-yard drive set up by an interception from Bryan Toles (Clovis North).
City got on the board with 3:40 left in the first quarter when Dakota Gordon (Clovis) bulldozed his way for a 26-yard touchdown. City, which had been held to minus-10 yards offense on its first two possessions, got into scoring position courtesy of a 40-yard pass play from Andy Phimmavong (Sunnyside) to Silas Jones (Hoover).
County took advantage of an out-of-synch City offense for 14 first-quarter points.
Noe Lopez (Madera) scooped up a botched City quarterback/running back exchange on the first play of the game to set up County for a seven-play, 38-yard drive. It culminated with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Markus Espinoza (Firebaugh) to Juan Lopez (Tranquillity).
Wyatt McBee (Firebaugh) came up with a stop of City’s Hall for a 9-yard loss on the first play of the next possession to set up a three-and-out.
A short punt was downed at the City 29, which County covered in five plays, capped by Alvarado’s 5-yard touchdown run.
The teams combined for six turnovers in the first half, three interceptions by the County and two fumbles and an interception by City.
Khary Coleman (Clovis East) had two interceptions for City.
By Nick Giannandrea