It’s wintertime, full-on basketball season, but football is still in the air.
The 61st Optimist All-Star Football Classic for charity will be Jan. 19 at Sacramento State, a 1 p.m. kickoff pitting top area high school seniors.
One-time Sac State coach John Volek is again coaching the North team, and decades-long regional coaching figure Max Miller leads the South.
Both rosters are still being finalized, but committed to the South are several Bee All-Metro players, including Sheldon running back Tyrell Smith, River Valley quarterback Dawson McPeak, Capital Christian receiver/defensive back Trey Jones, running back D’Marcus Ross and lineman Will Buck, Burbank linebacker Lavelle Bailey and Oak Ridge tight end Gage King and tackle Zac Welch.
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North players from Folsom, the two-time reigning CIF State Division 1-AA champion, include receiver/defensive back Parker Clayton, linebackers Dylan Jorge and Noah Jenkins and linemen Garrison Passmore, Caleb Freeland and Joe Wagner.
North stars include Bee All-Metro honorees, among them Rocklin quarterback Cade Wyant, Jesuit quarterback Hank Harvego and defensive end Cade Brownholtz (grandson of coach Volek) , Bear River two-way players Calder Kunde and Dylan Scott, and Del Oro leaders Dawson Hurst, Wyatt Berry and Ryan Whalley.
Remembering Jason Clark
Beloved Oak Ridge freshman football coach Jason Clark died Friday from complications with pneumonia after being hospitalized since New Year’s Day, rocking the El Dorado Hills community.
Oak Ridge students painted rocks near the school to honor their coach and friend, including “RIP Coach Clark.”
Clark leaves behind his wife, Andrea, and five children. His funeral service was Tuesday.
A memorial fund in Clark’s name goes through Umpqua Bank in El Dorado Hills. Donations to his family can be made through account number 4869974321.
Bee Player of the Year Kaiden Bennett was named to the MaxPreps All-American team. The Boise State signee passed for 4,254 yards and 62 touchdowns while rushing for 13 scores in leading the Bulldogs to the CIF State Division 1-AA championship.
Bennett and De La Salle linebacker Henry To’oto’o were the only players from Northern California selected to the team.
NorCal Preps honors
Joe Ngata of Folsom was named the NorCalPreps Northern California Offensive Player of the Year after helping power the Bulldogs to a repeat CIF State Division 1-AA championship.
Already enrolled at Clemson as an early Folsom graduate, Ngata had 66 receptions for 1,269 yards and 22 touchdowns.
The NorCalPreps Player of the Year is To’oto’o, who grew up in Sacramento and played his freshman season at Burbank before switching to the national powerhouse in Concord.
McClymonds of Oakland coach Marcus Peters is the Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year after leading the first public school to win three successive CIF State titles.
Peters was an assistant for 28 seasons at McClymonds before taking over as head coach five years ago, leading a school best known as Mack to a 63-4 record.
The Cal-Hi Large School Coach of the Year is Ryan Partridge of Liberty of Brentwood, which went 13-1 and won the CIF State Division 1-A championship.
The Cal-Hi Medium School Coach of the Year is Mark Cooley of Pleasant Valley of Chico, which went 10-3 and won the CIF State Division 4-AA title.
Cal-Hi Coach of the Year winners from the Sacramento area include Kris Richardson of Folsom in 2017 (Division 1-AA state champion, 16-0), Ernie Cooper of Granite Bay in 2012 (Division I state champion, 13-3), Mike Papadopoulos of Vacaville in 2011 (section Division II champion, 13-1), Mike Alberghini of Grant in 2008 (State Open champion, 14-0), Ron Lancaster of Cordova in 1979 (section Division I champion, 13-0) and Palmer Muhl of Woodland in 1939 (8-0 season).
Sheldon is the Sac-Joaquin Section’s lone boys team ranked by Cal-Hi Sports in the weekly Top 20, at No. 8. The Huskies, top-ranked by The Bee, are 12-4 and have lost to three nationally ranked teams, including state No. 5 Salesian of Richmond, which is 17-0.
Follow The Bee’s Joe Davidson: email@example.com, @SacBee_JoeD, sacbee.com/high-school.