East Meets West in Tonight’s annual SGV Hall of Fame All-Star Senior Football game that almost didn’t happen

What: 35th annual Hall of Fame All-Star Football Game
When: Friday
Where: West Covina High School, 7 p.m.
By Aram Tolegian
Which side of the Valley, and surrounding parts, plays the best high school football will be decided Friday when East meets West in the 35th San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame All-Star Senior game at West Covina High School. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
In recent years, the answer has been crystal clear that the East holds all the cards when it comes to the prep gridiron. The East will try to extend its series win streak to seven and bolster the all-time series lead which stands at 22-10-2 favoring the East.
For all of the great memories and large crowds that the game has produced over the years, it almost went the way of the dinosaur this year.
The National Football Foundation, which used to sponsor the game, abruptly pulled out after adopting a national policy to not put on any all-star games due to insurance concerns.

West Covina High stepped up, however, and the game will go on.

“For a few hours there, even overnight, it seemed like this thing might die,” said West Covina football coach Mike Maggiore, who played in the game in 1985 and has coached in it as well.

“It’s gone on for so long, it just seems right that we need an all-star game. To lose it would’ve been pretty bad after 34 years.”

The East is coached by Pomona’s Aaron Jamieson, who helped guide the Red Devils to a 10-2 record in 2013. Jamieson has the usual bevy of talent that past East coaches have enjoyed, led by the powerful running back duo of Bonita’s Jake Payton and San Dimas’ Joseph Mayorga.

When the East passes, it should be in good hands with La Serna quarterback Frankie Palmer at the helm. Palmer, the Whittier Daily News Player of the Year, may be playing in his final football game after a stellar prep career that saw him lead the Lancers to three consecutive CIF championship games.

The West is coached by San Marino’s Mike Hobbie, who coached the Titans to a 9-3 record in 2013. Hobbie is blessed with more size on the West roster than in recent years. The West has three linemen listed at over 300 pounds.

Whether the West can trade points with the East may come down to how well quarterbacks Nathan Coto (Arroyo) and Andrew Ferraco (San Marino) perform. Both will have the luxury of having Rio Hondo Prep running back Nate Tayco to hand the ball to.

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