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March 4, 2021

Prep Football: All Star Game bittersweet for Gilroy-area players

Few get the chance to play high school football. Even fewer earn the honor of being named an All Star.
Though they’ve already graduated and have begun preparing for life as college students, Gilroy High’s Brendan Holler and Gianfranco Fortino along with Christopher High’s Tyler DeCarlo put on their pads one last time to play as high schoolers during the 39th Annual Charlie Wedemeyer High School All Star Football Game Wednesday at San Jose City College. The three Gilroy-area athletes played for the South team, which fell to North 17-6.
“It was fun,” Holler said. “There’s a lot of players out here so you don’t play as much as you usually play in high school, but it was fun.”
North played a dominate first half, leading 17-0 at the break. With 18.8 seconds left on the clock, cheers were generating from the North bleachers — but they were quickly silenced.
Santa Teresa QB Austin Richelle connected with Pioneer’s Dominic Barnes for a 6-yard touchdown. South’s 2-point conversion attempt failed, but the team was happy to avoid the shutout.
“It took everything we’ve got to make sure that didn’t happen (a shutout),” Fortino said. “We just had to score.”
Live Oak’s Mike Gemo was selected to coach the South team — which was comprised of players from the South Santa Clara County, including Live Oak and Sobrato. For him, it was an honor to shine the spotlight on the South Valley.
“It was nice to represent Live Oak High School and all the great people of Morgan Hill. I hope that I represented them well,” Gemo said. “It was fun that they got recognized. We’re way down there in the South (Valley) and people forget about us sometimes.”
This was the last football game for Holler, who will instead play baseball at the College of San Mateo next season. Fortino and DeCarlo, on the other hand, will be back in action next week when practice starts at Gavilan. The game was a good test for them as they learn to transition from crosstown rivals to teammates.
“It’s a little bit of both (exciting and emotional),” DeCarlo said. “I’m sad because it’s the end of my high school career, but I’m happy because it’s the next chapter in my life.”

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