By getting selected to the Charlie Wedemeyer All-Star Game, Gilroy High senior Marcques Anthony and Christopher High senior quarterback Spencer Gorgulho have earned a rare distinction: they will have played in two high school football all star games in a span of a month.
For a variety of reasons—mainly due to geography—players rarely get to compete in two different all star games in their senior year. However, Anthony and Gorgulho go to schools that lie at the very end of the coverage area for both the Charlie Wedemeyer and Central Coast All-Star contests.
The Central Coast doesn’t take any athletes north of Gilroy and the Wedemeyer Game doesn’t take any players further south of Gilroy. So, the players from the city of Gilroy schools are eligible to compete in both the Wedemeyer and Central Coast, which took place on Jan. 14 at Rabobank Stadium in Salinas.
This year’s Charlie Wedemeyer Game—the 47th edition—will be played at Los Gatos High on Feb. 5. Kickoff time is 6pm.
“It’s definitely pretty cool where Gilroy lies on the map that we’re able to play for both,” Gorgulho said. “I’m glad I got invited.”
Gorgulho will be joined on the South team by CHS teammate Rossi Oteri, a standout linebacker who earned Defensive Most Valuable Player honors this past season in the Pacific Coast League’s Gabilan Division. Anthony, who earned PCAL Mission Division first team at defensive back, will be the lone GHS player in the event.
Anthony received a pleasant surprise when former Mustangs coach Simeon Nash—who is an assistant on the South team—called to tell Anthony he had been selected to play in the game.
“I was super stoked when I got that message from my old coach,” Anthony said. “I was already going to play in the Central Coast game and was afraid the two would overlap, but the scheduling worked out perfectly. I was super excited to get both invites and I feel great that all the hard work really paid off and I can have something to show for it.”
Anthony and Gorgulho—who attended middle school together at Brownell—thoroughly enjoyed their respective Central Coast Game experiences as a couple of their teammates also played in the contest. But for the players in the all star games, the outcome isn’t nearly as important as the camaraderie, friendships that get made and the chance to play one last time.
“It was a blast the whole time and I never felt like I had a bad day at practice or anything,” Anthony said. “We all got along and we didn’t come out with a win, but that’s not what the game is about. It’s about having fun and getting one last game in.”
Said Gorgulho: “It was pretty fun and I thought I did pretty good. It was definitely pretty physical and I didn’t mind it at all. I got hit a couple of times and it felt good.”
Anthony and Gorgulho both know Live Oak’s Keelan Echauri, who attended Gilroy High his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Live Oak. Echauri is one of three Live Oak players in the Wedemeyer game.
“I played with Keelan and am really good friends with him,” Anthony said. “We’re pretty close and I’ve known Rossi since kindergarten. It’s kind of crazy that Rossi, I and all the other guys played on the (Pop Warner Gilroy) Browns together.”
Gorgulho also played youth football with Echauri and Oteri, and the standout quarterback is particularly excited to get in the half-dozen or so practices leading up to the Wedemeyer Game.
“I didn’t get in all the practices for the Central Coast because I had Covid so for sure it’s going to be fun getting the jump from the start and start competing,” he said.
Most prep all star games are significant because they support charities. The Wedemeyer Game is no different, as 100% of its proceeds go to Coaches Against Cancer and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Golden West Foundation.
The game is named after Wedemeyer, the former Los Gatos High coach who was diagnosed with ALS at age 30. Given one to three years to live, the ex-Michigan State football star lived 30-plus years with the disease, dying at the age of 64 in June 2010.
He was survived by his wife, Lucy, their two children, Carri and Kale, and seven grandchildren. Lucy, a longtime Los Gatos resident and local real estate agent, continues to play a prominent role in the All-Star Game festivities
Charlie and Lucy were high school sweethearts at Punahou School in Hawaii and got married while they were in college at Michigan State. They were the subjects of a made-for-TV movie in the 1980s and gained national attention. Despite losing the ability to walk or speak and being confined to a wheelchair early in his diagnosis, Charlie talked to his players through Lucy, using a language of blinks, eyebrow raises and cheek twitches, per Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.
They later traveled the world doing speaking engagements, with Lucy reading Charlie’s lips to share their heartwarming and inspirational story to countless people. Anthony went to a game meeting recently and heard how Wedemeyer’s story still resonates long after his death.
“I found out the story of Charlie Wedemeyer and it’s amazing,” Anthony said.
Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected] and (831) 886-0471, ext. 3958.