This year’s return of the annual Central California District 4-A1 Lions All-Star Football Game to a site in Stockton is being hailed as a ‘homecoming’ for one of the oldest and most prestigious high school all-star football games in California.
The 46th year of the event will be played on Saturday, June 15 at Lincoln High School’s Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Escalon’s Nash Satnat, a 2019 EHS grad, has been tapped to play for the North team in the contest. A standout for the Cougars, Satnat is listed at 6-3, 205 and is expected to see action at linebacker.
Gates open at 6 p.m. with the game set for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The Lions All-Star Football Classic began in 1974 and was held at the University of Pacific’s Memorial Stadium until 2011. With that stadium at the time being prepared for its eventual demolition, the Lions game moved to Modesto Junior College for two years and for the last six years has been held at Tracy High’s Wayne Schneider Stadium.
The Lincoln stadium is regarded as one of the best high school football stadiums in California and has been the site of numerous CIF Sac-Joaquin Section and CIF Northern California football championship games.
The Lions Game also is only one of two in the state in which players are brought together during the week before the game to stay in college dorms, emulating college life and fostering a football training camp-style experience.
The North team generally represents schools from San Joaquin County and the foothill communities to the east. The South team generally represents Stanislaus and Merced counties.
The South won last year’s game 24-2 and has gone 5-0-1 in the last six years. The North still leads in the overall series 24-19-1.
Along with Satnat from Escalon, the North Team features players from schools including Tracy, Lathrop, Manteca, Lincoln, Weston Ranch, Chavez, Mountain House, Stagg, East Union, Argonaut, Franklin, Bear Creek, Calaveras, Sonora, Edison, Lodi and Lincoln. The South Team has representatives from Gregori, Grace Davis, Waterford, El Capitan, Turlock, Modesto, Merced, Denair, Orestimba, Downey, Pitman, Pacheco, Gustine, Central Catholic, Hughson, Atwater and Buhach Colony.
Selected in January to be the head coaches for this year were Jason McCloskey of Mountain House (North) and Shawn King of Hughson (South). Both of the coaches worked with other head coaches from other schools in the North and South to select the players for this year’s game.
Players previously gathered at the Italian Athletic Club on Cherryland Avenue in Stockton for an All-Star banquet and guest speaker was Darren Arbet, former head coach of the Arena Football League’s San Jose Sabercats and currently head coach at Cabrillo College in Aptos. Arbet, an Edison (Stockton) grad, was the Sabercats’ GM and head coach and guided the team to ArenaBowl titles in 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2015. The team folded in November 2015.
North players are practicing at Stagg High School in Stockton near where they will be staying for the week at University of the Pacific dorms. South players are practicing and staying at Cal State Stanislaus in Turlock.
The North team dinner was Tuesday, June 11 at Linden Lions Club with the South team dinner Thursday, June 13 at Turlock Lions Club.