Photo courtesy of Ted Aguirre
30th HALL OF FAME GAME
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Bassett High
WHO: East (coached by Northview’s Jim Arellanes) vs. West (coached by Rosemead’s Matt Koffler)
LAST YEAR: The West snapped the East’s six-game winning streak last year, winning 34-14 behind South El Monte wide receiver Tommy Cogburn, who stole the show with three touchdowns.
SERIES: East leads, 17-10-2
By Steve Ramirez
Friday’s 30th Hall of Fame Game will be the final high school football game for the Valley stars. But unlike some of his teammates and competitors, it will be even more special for Charter Oak High School’s Chris Allen, who will suit up in a football uniform for the final time on Friday at Bassett High School. Allen, the East Valley Player of the Year and CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division Offensive Player of the Year, received a Division I scholarship to play baseball for Cal State Northridge. The Matadors
don’t field a football team. Keep reading, there is more on Bishop Amat running back DeShawn Gaisie
“It’s a bitter-sweet feeling for me,” said Allen, who threw for 2,008
yards and 23 touchdowns in leading Charter Oak to the Southeast
Division title this past fall.”It’s hard. I’m going to miss it. I
would have liked to play D-I in football, and thought I had the
potential, but (college) coaches thought otherwise.
“Everything happens for a reason, though. To be able to play Division
I baseball is the same feeling for me. I like the feeling. I like the
challenge and I know I can play at that level. It is bitter-sweet (to
play football for the final time), but to finish with guys I’ve known
since we were eight and nine years old, is a great feeling.”
Allen’s decision to choose baseball over football was not an easy one.
He had other options in football, both at the Division II and junior
college levels, but he just couldn’t turn down an offer to play a
“I understood that concept of playing JC or Division II but I thought
I was Division I caliber and didn’t want to settle for less,” Allen
said. “Northridge came around and offered me Division I baseball and
I jumped at it.
“I was still talking to Nevada, but no one really came up to speed. I
also talked to my parents about it, and we agreed that Division I
sports is what I wanted and I wasn’t going to settle for less. It’s
going to be hard to let football go, but I definitely felt baseball
was the way to go.”
But first Allen has one more football game to play, and he likes his
chances on ending his career as a winner.
“This team has a lot of great guys,” Allen said. “We have a lot of
speed and agility, much like our Chargers team this year. I think it
will be a good game.
“I feel we’re good enough to beat anyone. It will be a lot of
competition and a lot of fun.”
Just like brother
Bishop Amat High School’s Deshawn Gaisie, who is
expected to get plenty of opportunities for the East at running back
in Friday’s game, hopes to follow the same career path as his older
brother Dominick, who also prepped at Bishop Amat before being an
All-CCCAA defensive back for Mt. San Antonio College this past season
and earning a scholarship to Washington.
Deshawn Gaisie, who rushed for 1,099 yards and 18 TDs last season for
the Lancers, hopes to do it from the offensive backfield.
“He gave me a great path to follow,” Deshawn Gaisie said of his
brother. “I’d like to follow his footsteps, go to Mt. SAC, and try to
do the same thing he did and probably end up at Washington, too.”
Northview coach Jim Arellanes, who is coaching the East
team, has experience with the West.
The El Rancho graduate is an alum of the game, playing for the West
along with West coach Matt Koffler, a Rosemead graduate.
“I was on the West side,” Arellanes said. “Koffler and I were the
West quarterbacks. It was a good experience and a lot of fun.”