Monday, December 24, 2012

All-stars of the Cal State game

Saturday's scene at Visalia's Mineral King Bowl looked like the high school all-star game version of the mud bowl.

The rain-soaked contest was won by the South 19-14, but along with the mud and rain, the other scene was 11 players total sticking out on both sides. Two happen to be uncommitted running backs from the Central Valley.

Here's a look at who shined the brightest at the Cal State game in the rain and mud:


The quarterback duo of Narbonne-Harbor City's Troy Williams (Washington commit) and 6-foot-7 behemoth Kelly Hilinski created fits for the North defense. Both quarterbacks kept the North on their heels with their athleticism on roll out plays. Hilinski, who holds five offers including Arkansas, was tough to bring down when he took off running.

Despite giving up some huge run plays, the South defense saw a punishing performance out of UCLA commit Kenneth Clark, who ate up ball carriers in the middle or forced plays to go outside. The 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive tackle can be a demon in the PAC-12 if he improves his overall technique, but he can make some game-changing plays.

Washington State commit Gerald Wicks of Long Beach Poly made the most spectacular plays of the night. Wicks had two returns of 40+ yards.


One underrated running back and one overlooked back was the story here.

Beginning first with the underrated running back. Sunnyside-Fresno's Errian Wingfield received a late invite and may have helped his recruiting cause. Wingfield scored the longest touchdown of the night for the North, when he blew through the open hole on the left side for the 80-yard score. Before the game, Wingfield landed his first offer from New Mexico State.

The overlooked back was Stockdale-Bakersfield's Deon "D.J" Martin. Despite having a star-crossed career that including a suspension that claimed half of his junior year, Martin provided some punishing runs for the North and became one of the top workhorses. Martin also made the play of the night, when three different fumbles from a bothced snap eventually landed into the hands of Martin, who would score on a 25-yard touchdown for North's first score. The former Cal commit, who didn't qualify academically with the Golden Bears, still has Arizona State, Fresno State and Vanderbilt on the offer front.

The man paving the way was Nevada commit Chad Specht. The massive 6-foot-6, 295-pound man child from Clovis West was the key behind North's running success. Defensively, Stanford commit Kevin Palma (Mission Oak-Tulare) showed off his closing speed in the mud by sealing some outside plays. Fresno State commit Justin Holmes (Edison-Fresno) displayed his reaction skills and hauled in one interception.

Two late additions that helped their cause on the recruiting trail was Liberty-Bakerfield wide receiver Kenny Davis and Edison-Fresno safety Ronnie Manning. Davis provided energy on offense with his playmaking ability, while Manning was a helping hand as a run stopper.

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