The top football players from 15 Central Coast high schools will take the field one last time in the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes All-Star football game tonight at Lompoc High at 7.
The San Luis Obispo County squad includes 50 players from eight schools — San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Atascadero, Mission Prep, Templeton, Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande and Nipomo.
Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at the gate.
Local stars to take the field will include Arroyo Grande’s Matt Willkomm, Templeton’s Ross Berry, San Luis Obispo’s Jack Ferguson, Nipomo’s Kaileb Mendez, Paso Robles’ Kris Pequeno, Mission Prep’s Joey Hall, Morro Bay’s Jake Beavers and Atascadero’s Dominic Chance.
All of the players on the roster will see action in the game, which encourages “integrity, service, teamwork and excellence,” FCA coordinator Luke Llamas said. Llamas said he anticipates about 6,000 fans to attend.
Practices for the game took place this week. Templeton coach Dan Loney is heading up the San Luis Obispo County team’s offense. Morro Bay’s Jack Greer is leading the defense. Coaches from other county teams were involved in the practice as well.
“I see this game as multi-faceted,” Greer said. “It’s a grand finale for players to put on the pads and take the field one last time. It’s also an opportunity for players of rival schools to build camaraderie. And finally, it’s a great fundraising opportunity for the schools now dealing with budget cutbacks.”
Each school keeps proceeds from sales they make to family and friends prior to the game.
Greer said his school had a goal of selling 1,000 tickets and ended up selling 700, which raised $7,000 for Morro Bay’s football program. Loney said Templeton has raised about $4,500.
Mission Prep’s Tyler Baty, The Tribune’s County Player of the Year, and Templeton’s Alex Elterman have taken most of the snaps at quarterback in practice this week. Willkomm, a standout quarterback for Arroyo Grande this past season, will return to defense, his role as a junior, in the all-star game.
“We have two good quarterbacks and a bunch of good receivers,” Loney said. “We’ll mix up the pass with the power run. We got a few wrinkles, but the main thing is to keep it simple and let the kids showcase their skills.”
Running backs for San Luis Obispo County are Paso Robles’ Colton Madrigal, Atascadero’s Jonathan Torres and Nipomo’s Tommy Saenz.
Receivers include Arroyo Grande’s Brennan Rivera, Mission Prep’s Hall, Nipomo’s Ian Wilkinson and Templeton’s Andy Garretson.
Greer noted the game’s rules limit how defenses can set up to encourage more offense in the contest.
The event’s activities have also included a combine for underclassmen. Sprint times and other information about the players are made available for college recruiting.
Last year, Santa Barbara County won the game 27-14.
“Kids get to see each other in a different light in this game,” Loney said. “They’re not opponents anymore. They start to create that bond outside of their school. And the coaches come together and we share ideas. It’s still competitive, but we can all be a little looser out there.”