30th Hall of Fame Game, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Bassett High School, $8 admission
East leads series, 17-10-2
Above: Azusa’s Rauley Zaragoza returning an interception for a touchdown in the Aztecs’ playoff win over Covina.
This is a sneak preview for Wednesday’s newspaper.
By Fred J. Robledo ..
When Sierra Vista High School’s Daniel Limon told Mt. San Antonio College coaches he would like to try out at slot receiver this fall, they told the generously listed 5-foot-10, 173-pounder they were more interested in him as a kicker. After all, he did make 12 field goals for the Dons.
“They laughed to be honest with you,” Limon said. “But that’s alright. You come from Sierra Vista, you’re going to have doubters. It’s nothing new to me.” To continue reading with more from Miguel Melendez on the West practice, click thread. West coach Matt Koffler calls RB Tra Sumler the best player in the SGV
Never mind that Limon was the third-leading receiver in the CIF-Southern Section, hauling in 58 receptions for 1,365 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns.
Limon averaged 124 receiving yards for the struggling Dons (4-7), and had at least 100-yards receiving in all but one game.
Even in the Dons’ CIF-SS Mid-Valley Division first-round playoff loss to mighty San Dimas 67-12, Limon was the lone bright spot with six receptions for 101 yards.
On Friday, Limon will suit up for the East in the 30th annual Hall of Fame All-Star football game at Bassett High School at 7:30 p.m.
The East leads the series against the West 17-10-1, but the West snapped the East’s six-game winning streak last year in a 34-14 victory.
“It’s such a great opportunity to be at these practices (at Northview High School) and to be around so much talent,” Limon said. “But even better because I feel like I fit right it.
“I would love to have a good game. It’s my last high school game and you never know what (college scouts) are in the stands watching.”
Azusa High School’s Rauley Zaragoza knows how Limon feels.
Both earned all-Montview league first-team honors, but they know they have more to prove competing alongside receivers such as Charter Oak’s Kiely Rycraw, Northview’s Kevin Jones, Rowland’s BJ Oyefeso and Bonita’s Derrick Price.
“I’m going to walk-on at Fresno State, so this is a tremendous opportunity for me,” said the 6-foot-1 Zaragoza, who helped the Aztecs to the Montview League title, finishing with 44 receptions for 747 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“I don’t feel like there is a big gap between any of us (receivers),” Zaragoza added. “But the ball gets to you much quicker, that’s for sure.”
The East features South Hills quarterback Cameron Deen, who is going to Northern Colorado, and Charter Oak’s Chris Allen, the Tribune player of the year after leading the Chargers to the Southeast Division championship.
“That’s the huge difference,” Limon said. “These guys (Deen and Allen) throw hard and the balls are perfect. I’m like, ‘dang, I’m not use to this.’
“Even when you run routes, the ball is right there, you’re not chasing it around the field trying to make a play.”
Deen laughed, noting the receivers have told him the same thing.
“They (receivers) were telling me and Chris it’s nice to have spirals instead of ducks coming at them,” Deen said. “Nobody has broken any fingers, so I guess we’re doing alright.”
The Huskies quarterback also said he expects Limon and Zaragoza to make an impact on Friday.
“Chris and I are going to be able to throw it around some, so everyone has to be ready,” Deen said. “Both of those guys have done great. They deserve to be here like anyone else. I have been impressed.”
So has Northview and East coach Jim Arellanes.
“I know what it’s like to come from a small school and play in a game like this,” Arellanes said. “They want to prove themselves, but I don’t see them pressing in any way. They come out to work every single day and have done a very good job.”
WEST NEWS FROM MIGUEL MELENDEZ …Got to talking with Rosemead coach Matt Koffler after Monday’s practice at Rosmead High. First of all, the team looks like they have a lot of speed in the backfield, what with Marquis Williams and Tra Sumler in the backfield. But there were others Koffler came away impressed with. He particularly noted Muir’s Chris Dunlap. “I think Chris Dunlap from Muir is a hell of a ball player and Mitchell Garner has shined, too,” Koffler said. “I’ve never really hard of Dunlap until the last couple weeks of practice, and boy, what a phenomenal athlete that kid is. He has speed, he’s smart, polite, tough and just such a pleasure to coach.” Koffler also mentioned South Pasadena’s Steven Colliau and San Marino’s Scott Dooley. “Dooey is a hard-nose kid,” Koffler said. “We have underdog kids that know how to work.” So, with these all-star practices in full swing one must wonder who is the best athlete in the entire San Gabriel Valley. That answer is easy. “Tra I think is the best player in the whole San Gabriel Valley,” Koffler said. Uh, oh! I’m sure the East begs to differ, but really, is there a legitimate argument the East can counter with? Sumler led the Panthers all the way to the Mid-Valley Division finals, and though Charter Oak went a step further and won the whole thing, there’s not enough substance in arguing there’s a better player on Charter Oak’s team than Sumler. Period.