FRESNO – The County All-Stars were unfazed by a slow start in the 69th annual City-County All-Star Football Game on June 16.
Despite a City touchdown on the second possession of the game, the County flexed its muscles and scored the next 16 points of the first half. After adding a field goal in the third quarter to go up 19-6, they held on for a 19-14 victory over the City before a large crowd at McLane Stadium.
Using a swarming defense that forced an early turnover and shortened the field, the County cashed in with a pair of touchdown receptions by Kingsburg High’s Trace Jackson. He caught a 12-yard pass out of the backfield and lunged into the end zone early in the second quarter to tie the game at 6, following a fumble recovery by Reedley’s Roman Marquez to give County possession deep in City territory.
After getting the ball back, the County took the lead for good when Central’s Dayton Tafoya hit Jackson in stride out of the backfield and he raced 25 yards into the end zone. After scoring standing up, Jackson held the ball aloft for the fans.
County built the lead to 16-6 late in the quarter on a 30-yard field goal by Julio Ayala of Kerman. The City had a chance to score just before halftime, but a long pass was dropped near the goalline.
Ayala added another field goal in the third quarter to make it 19-6, and the County defense was making it stand up with physical, attacking defense. But the City busted a big play in the final quarter when quarterback Ya’J Vance of Edison hit Ramon Ruiz of San Joaquin Memorial for an 83-yard touchdown. A subsequent 2-point conversion pass from Vance to J’Sean Gonzales of Madera narrowed the margin to five points.
The City had one final threat late in the game, driving to midfield before an incomplete pass ended the game. The first City score came on a 7-yard TD pass from Vance to Edison teammate John Eubanks.
There were six players on the County team representing Mid Valley Times communities. Reedley High had two players in linebacker Roman Marquez and wide receiver-returner Kahlil Yalong. A third Reedley area player was Immanuel High’s Will Henderson, who played linebacker and special teams.