FOOTBALL: Vegas, Gonzales help South to victory in Wedemeyer All-Star Game

Gilroy's Cordero Gonzales works to hold back Lemaki Musika, from

South earns second straight win, 24-13.
Two weeks worth of lengthy car rides to practices at Piedmont Hills High School in San Jose left plenty of time for Cordero Gonzales and Eric Vegas to verbalize a checklist of must-dos come Wednesday night’s 37th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic Charlie Wedemeyer All-Star Football Game.

“He was like, ‘I have to get some good hits on people.’ And I was like, ‘I have to get some pancakes,'” Gonzales said. “We just kept saying we couldn’t wait for Wednesday.”

The goals were reasonable to say the least with Vegas’ reputation for delivering the goods onto the opposition and Gonzales’ delight in flattening defensive linemen.

Both said they felt they had something to prove, both wanted to get involved in the action and both shouldered a responsibility to represent Gilroy High to the best of their abilities.

“All we wanted to do is show that Gilroy can play football,” Gonzales said. “We might have had a bad record, but we don’t have bad athletes.”

Suiting up in South red for the Santa Clara County all-star classic, which features some of the top graduated seniors in the area, Vegas and Gonzales did indeed leave a personal stamp on the proceedings.

Vegas, slotted in as middle linebacker recorded four tackles and a fumble recovery, while Gonzales, playing left guard, was in on three of the four South scoring drives as the South topped the North 24-13 – the second consecutive South victory – Wednesday night at Spartan Stadium in San Jose.

The two former Mustangs teammates met at midfield among the rest of the celebrating South stars and a quick hug validated a rewarding night.

“I was so pumped coming into this game,” Vegas said after greeting some of his faithful followers in the stands. “To go out with a win, can’t ask for more.”

As for his four tackles, though, “Could have been bigger, could have been bigger,” he said semi-sarcastically. But I had some good hits though.”

Gonzales also had a bevy of supporters in the crowd, a welcomed change for the third member of the Gonzales immediate family to play in the all-star affair.

“A lot of my family members haven’t been to my games,” he said. “They came tonight and that was a good one for them to watch.”

If the game had an underdog, on paper, it was the South, which had to contend with three key pieces to Palo Alto’s state championship run – quarterback Christoph Bono (UCLA-bound) and receivers Maurice Williams and Davante Adams (Fresno State.)

But as the game unfolded, the South did just about everything right in the first half en route to a 21-7 halftime cushion.

Executing a wily game plan To a T in keeping the high-powered North offense off the field for the majority of the first quarter, the South led by Piedmont Hills quarterback, Jason Harms, milked nearly seven minutes off the game clock, embarking on a 14-play, 57-yard drive, capped by a Harms-to-Jonah Moon 3-yard, play-action pass for a 7-0 score.

A blocked punt and Vegas’ recovery set up the drive.

The South went up 14-0 on their ensuing set of downs, traveling 34 yards, the last seven via the feet of Zach Vaiana on a quarterback draw for the score.

Gonzales saw his first action on the drive and put his eagerness in motion.

“My first play, right as I got in there, it was boom, I got him on the ground,” Gonzales said. “After that I was just rolling. It was fun to play again. I’m going to miss playing high school.”

Bono connected with Rocky Meszaros, who tiptoed the sideline, in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown, cutting into the deficit with 3:30 to play in the second quarter.

Harms (12 of 17, 131 yards) led the South on a two-play, 10-second, 62-yard drive, just before the intermission to lift the margin to 21-7.

Harms hit Bryan Fobbs for 37 yards first, then dialed up Juquelle Thompson on a 25-yard fade route to pay dirt.

South kicker Thomas Dazzi drilled a 46-yard field goal in the fourth to make it 24-7. Bono, who finished 14 of 16 for 137 yards, captained the North on one final scoring pursuit late in the final quarter – a touchdown pass to Adams with 4:10 left.

The South’s defense surrendered just 212 yards.

“We had a lot of good play calls, “said Vegas, who, when on the field, was in charge of relaying the plays from the sideline to the rest of the players. “Our offense, during practice, helped out a lot. We got a good scout team going. We expected a little bit of what they did and we just put it all together.”

— The South’s last winning streak ran from 2002-05 when they won four straight.

— The North was held to its lowest point total since an eight-point effort in 2000.

— Wednesday’s 11-point final margin is the most since the North defeated the South 27-0 in 1997. The previous five contests, which includes a tie in 2009, were decided by a combined 12 points.

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