West sets out to stop East’s dominance.
What: San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame Game
Where: Bassett High School
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Who: East vs. West
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
All of the participants were not yet teenagers and had no idea of the significance when it began.
But make no mistake about it, most, if not all of the players on the West team are aware of the East’s six-game winning streak.
And they have full intentions of doing something about it tonight during the 29 th annual Hall of Fame All-Star Football Game at Bassett High School at 7:30.
“I know the East is traditionally favored and they have more schools to choose from,” West coach Erick Escamilla of South El Monte said.
Added South Pasadena quarterback Jonathan Troast: “I think that I have it right that the East has won the last six years in a row, so it’s definitely our goal to come out and win.”
The East holds a 17-9-2 lead in the series and has won five of the last six contests by a touchdown or less.
Charter Oak and East quarterback Kanaan Snowden is well aware of the streak as well.
“We don’t want to be the team that blows the streak,” Snowden said. “We need to keep this going.
“With all this talent, the West is going to have their hands full.”
Preparing for the East wasn’t the only concern for the West, as the team has been forced to go through a war of attrition.
The West has lost several high- profile players, who chose to instead play in the second annual Fiesta Bowl all-star game Saturday at L.A. Wilson High.
Among the players to jump over to the City Section/Southern Section matchup were Star-News Player of the Year Tyron Crockom of Pasadena and Arcadia’s Kevan Walker, who is headed to Oregon State.
“The East didn’t really have the Fiesta game competing against them, and I think that’s been one of the big things,” Escamilla said. “I coach the kids that want to play in this game and I’ve got a great group of kids.”
Among the group are Duarte quarterback Darius Reese and running back Chris Harris, Alhambra’s Dushine Smith and Temple City’s Williams Do.
Do, a bruising 6-foot-2, 215-pound running back who overcame a serious shoulder injury sustained in the second week of the season, rushed for 1,324 yards and eight touchdowns for the Rams, while Smith led the Moors with 1,285 yards and 14 TDs.
In his first season as a starting quarterback, Troast threw for 1,696 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Among the receivers is Marshall’s David Morris, Monrovia’s Patrick Greene and Bosco Tech’s Ryan Diaz.
“It’s a big deal around here because South El Monte has not traditionally been a football power, but we’ve had a good four-year run now, and that’s the sign of a good program,” Escamilla said. “These kids are some of the best kids that I’ve ever gotten to know because they’re so thoughtful. They come from good communities and families and it shows.
“It just goes to show that high school football is alive and well on the West side of the 605.”
Escamilla acknowledged that everyone is eager to step onto the field tonight.
“The guys are champing at the bit to get playing now because it’s been two weeks already of practice and the practices tend to get a little long and dreary, especially with the heat that they’ve had to deal with,” Escamilla said. “In all-star football, we don’t teach a lot of the fundamentals, they know how to play football. These guys are good and I’m really excited about Friday night, it’s going to be one heck of a show.”