The Sacramento area’s best Division IV-VII football players put an exclamation point on their prep playing careers Friday in The Sacramento Bee Small-School Football Classic at Capital Christian High School.
For many of the 65 players that comprised the North and South squads for the senior showcase, this was the last time they would strap on the pads and hit someone.
Bear River linebacker John Voter joined three of his teammates in leading the North to a 19-17 victory. The North MVP had two sacks and scooped up a third-quarter fumble, then rumbled for a 65-yard score to ignite his squad to the come-from-behind victory. The win capped a great football season for Voter and Bear River teammates Josh Davis, Kyle Krogman and Cannon Fetter. The Bruins won the Sac-Joaquin Section D-V title last month.
“With just three days of practice, we just put a lot of blitzes in and went for it,” said Voter, who doesn’t know where or if he’ll play next fall. “This was a lot of fun, to play with this much talent, and it was a great end to our high school careers.”
With the North trailing 17-7 at the half, Voter’s score, his sixth defensive score of his high school career, and interceptions by Highlands’ Antonious Turner and Colfax’s Sam LaHaie, keyed the North defense to a second-half shutout.
South quarterback Jacob Lowrie of Winters was fresh off an all-star game appearance in Dallas and proved to be elusive and entertaining in earning South MVP honors. He slashed the North in the first half with read-option keepers up the middle and throws on the run.
Lowrie opened the scoring with a 13-yard run, and he made it 15-7 with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Union Mine’s Nate Brown in the second quarter. The South’s defense recorded safeties by Barrett Wilder of Vacaville Christian and Ethan Rogers of Dixon on consecutive North possessions.
Lowrie is the Northern Section’s all-time career yardage leader with 7,127 yards and led the Warriors to back-to-back section titles. He finished 9 of 13 for 117 passing yards and had 52 rushing yards.
But the North made some adjustments at the half and kept Lowrie and the rest of the South in check.
“We had to keep our eyes on (Lowrie) and spy a little,” said North coach Matt Cokley of Highlands.
North quarterback Mika Lomano of San Juan had the game-winning scoring strike to Tiantai Anderson of Center, an 11-yarder, that capped a six-play, 55-yard drive with just over four minutes left.
Lomano, at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, may pass the college recruiters’ “eye” test in terms of size, but he comes from a school better known for academics. Limited scholarship opportunities for those coming from any school – large or small – frustrates teenagers across the country.
And it was a common theme Friday as none of the 65 players in uniform have a scholarship offer.
But they have this memory of competing to the end in an all-star event in front of family, friends and their prep coaches.