FRIDAY, JAN. 30 AT WEST COVINA HS, 7:30 p.m.
When it became apparent that Bishop Amat High School football standouts Brandon Arconado and Christian Wiley weren’t receiving the type of recruiting attention their teammates and fans felt they deserved, the next logical step was to take to social media to open recruiters’ eyes.
For weeks after the season ended, Arconado and Wiley’s fans and teammates plastered social media with season highlight videos of the two players along with creative hashtags like #OfferArco or #OfferWiley.
No one can say for sure just what sort of imprint such attempts made, but thus far neither player has been offered a scholarship to play at the next level. Both are hoping one last good performance when they strap it up for the West team in Friday’s SGV Hall of Fame All-Star Game will change that.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at West Covina High.
“I’m grateful for the support and everything,” Wiley said of the push he’s gotten from fans and Amat teammates. “They want me to succeed and have seen me progress throughout the years, but ultimately it’s up to the college recruiters to give me the chance.”
Arconado and Wiley aren’t alone. For every Octavius Spencer, the Monrovia receiver with a scholarship to UCLA, playing in Friday’s game, there’s 10 others who are on the outside looking in when it comes to playing in college.
That’s why game organizers felt it was important to move a game that was once a late spring/early summer fixture to the middle of winter, right before national signing day on Feb. 4.
“I think I showed what I can do,” Arconado said. “I was competing against guys who have full-ride scholarships.”
Arconado was a special teams freak, averaging 41.1 yards on kickoff returns. He had over 1,000 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns and was also an all-Mission League selection.
Wiley was the Mission League’s Defensive MVP this past season and was the Tribune’s Defensive MVP as well. He finished with over 100 tackles against some of the best competition around.
“The Mission League is probably the third or second toughest league in the nation, and I got defensive MVP,” Wiley said. “It proves I’m up there with all the best talent. And I got all-CIF with people who have rides to Pac-12 schools. I need coaches to give me a chance and I’ll prove all the doubters wrong.”
In addition to being one final recruiting showcase, Friday’s game also offers fans one last chance to see some of the top senior talent around. Then there’s also that whole thing about which side of town plays the best football.
Things have a changed a bit this year, though, with a geography change in term of where both teams draw their talent from. Instead of using the 605 Freeway as the divider, game organizers pushed things out to Azusa Avenue.
Both teams can also go further out than before. The East is coached by Colony’s Steve Randall, who guided the Titans to the Central Division championship. The West is coached by Maranatha’s Steve Bogan and Crescenta Valley’s Paul Schilling, who coached the Falcons to a 14-0 record and Southeast Division championship.
The East leads the 23-10-2 and has won the last seven meetings.