On Saturday, nearly 90 of San Diego County's high school football standouts took to the field under the lights one last time for the 28th Annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic.
"I think it's really exciting and they seem to have a good time," said legendary high school football coach and San Diego High School Sports Association board member John Shacklett. "We provide them with their jersey, hat and sweatshirt with the name and (logo) on it. On Thursday, we started having a dinner before the game where we introduce both teams. It brings up a lot of camaraderie and we're able to control the game better (while) the kids get to know each other."
"What's really awesome about this game is that these kids have all played against each other, and now all of a sudden, they're teammates," added Kimberley Layton, Chargers Vice President of External Affairs. "They're coming together in a way they haven't (before) and they're making friends. Perhaps, for their lives."
The North squad edged the South in a 23-17 victory after Head Coach Joe Meyer called "H Bubble Pass Right," a trick play that went for a touchdown in the final minutes of game action.
One of the things that sets the Spanos Classic apart from other All-Star games is the heavy involvement of the Chargers organization. Besides the obvious donation to the High School Sports Association to make the game possible, players also don the lightning bolt like the Chargers themselves by wearing actual game pants straight from the team's equipment room. Additionally, each team has a Chargers player as an honorary captain. For this game, Nick Novak represented the North while Michael Davis led the South.
"I love representing the Chargers and I grew up in San Diego," Novak said. "I like to be out here with the guys to see their focus and drive. It's similar to an NFL pregame where you're talking to everybody but everybody is super focused. I like to talk to the kickers and see where they're at."
"All these kids are the best players from their teams," Davis added. "They're coming out here to show us what they got. I wanted to just show support for the San Diego kids."
Chargers owner Alex Spanos began support of the annual classic more than two decades ago when its future was in jeopardy. Over the years, the list of Spanos All-Star Classic alumni who have gone on to play in the National Football League includes former Chargers linebacker Donnie Edwards (Chula Vista High), former Buccaneers and Broncos safety John Lynch (Torrey Pines High) and former Cowboys and Rams defensive tackle La' Roi Glover (Point Loma High).
The Chargers' 28th Annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic was an incredible night for San Diego high school football, as the North rallied to beat the South by a score of 23-17 with a trick play in the game's final minutes