Hamilton High School running back Marciss Grisby carries defenders an extra five yards after the first contact as the City Section practiced at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Grisby hopes that a strong effort in the all-star game will improve his chances of obtaining a college scholarship. Photo by Jason Lewis
South East running back Robert Lewis rushed for over 2,000 and 30 touchdowns. He is heading to Washington St. as a wide receiver. Photo by Jason Lewis
Seniors get one more chance to play high school football, and they get to showcase their skills for scouts this Sunday at the Home Depot Center.
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
The top high school football teams hoisted championship trophies well over a month ago, but that was not the end of the road for the top seniors, as they will get one final game in the California Classic All Star High School football game.
This all star game was created four years ago by Chris Richards of Plays and Grades, which is an organization that assists high school athletes with their school work and prepares them for the SAT and ACT exams.
This year the game will be bigger than ever, as Prepstar and B2G Sports have been added as sponsors, and the game has been moved to the Home Depot Center in Carson.
There will be three games played on Sunday. At noon, the LA/Ventura North 8th graders will play the LA South 8th Graders. At 3 p.m. the Los Angeles City Section will play the San Diego Section. At 6 p.m. the Southern Section North will play the Southern Section South.
The two high school games will feature some of the best and most recruited players in Southern California. Some players have already signed with big time college programs. Some players are looking to improve their chances of being recruited by a big time program, and some players are just trying to get the scouts to take a look at them. That has been a major issue in the City Section.
“There are clearly players that we’ve coached over the past week that are Division I players, but they’ve been overlooked,” said Shane Cox, City Section coach (also Fairfax HS head coach). “This gives them one more opportunity to showcase their skills and abilities. Not against lower competition, but against the best competition for this year.
“There are a lot of players in the City Section who have been overlooked,” Cox continued. “If you look at the true talent at major college programs you’ll see that a lot of talent came out of the City Section. All you had to do was watch Oregon play this year and you’d see one of our stellar players (De’Anthony Thomas), who came right out of Crenshaw high school. There is a lot of good talent on Pac-12 teams from the City Section. We have a proven track record of NFL players.”
Playing great in this game can get a player one final look before National Signing Day on February 1.
“It’s exposure,” Cox said. “From what I understand, Prepstar uses this as that. They send out footage to all the colleges, and I’m sure there will be college coaches there. What better opportunity for a college coach to see how a kid matches up verses other guys who are going to college?”
The City Section has a good squad this year that features a number of local players. Gabriel Marks (Venice HS, WR/DB, defensive player of the year, heading to Washington St as a WR); Nick King (Westchester HS, QB, 20 TDs, 2 Ints); Marciss Grisby (Hamilton HS, RB, 1,665 yards, 14 touchdowns); Dejon Coleman (Arleta HS, RB, 2,029, 37 touchdowns); Robert Lewis (South East HS, RB, 2,023 yards, 30 touchdowns, heading to Washington St as a wide receiver); and Marcus Manly (Fairfax HS, DT).
Cox believes that many City players have been overlooked. Grisby is 5-9, 209 pounds, which is the size of NFL running backs, but he is having a hard time getting looked at coming out of Hamilton. So far the only school looking at him is Sacramento St. Manly from Fairfax had a great season, but he does not have any offers. This experience can do them a lot of good.
“The competition level out here is really high,” Grisby said. “We have a lot of running backs out here from the City Section who did some great things. Practice is harder because there are more elite athletes from different schools. It’s more fun because there are higher-level players than in a regular high school game. It’s a lot more competition, and more scouted players.”
Cox also points out that it is about bragging rights, as coaches and players from both the Los Angeles and San Diego sections always debate about which city has the best talent. For players, such as Marks, who already have scholarships to a Division I program wrapped up, this game is more about having one final experience before they go off to play college football.
“I’m just here to have fun,” Marks said. “I’m here to play with my friends one more time. There are a bunch of guys from Venice here and there are people here who I’ve played against in my high school career. There are a lot of good players from the City here. We always have a lot of fast and athletic guys on both sides of the ball.”
These players are here to have fun, but that has not stopped them from being highly competitive.
“Everybody is trying to prove themselves out here and represent their school,” Marks said. “It’s a little more intense. Everybody is going a little harder than they would in a normal high school practice. It’s really competitive.”
That competitive fire will make all three games on Sunday exciting. But this is not just a one-day event. B2G Sports will host a clinic on Saturday at Cerritos College at 10 a.m. for football players age 13-18. Over 85 athletes who participated in B2G Sports clinics over the last two years received D1 scholarships.
Check out B2G’s showcace video.
The game will be televised on LA36
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