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Sawyer Hits Gridiron For Final Contest
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Players for both teams that will suit up for the 32nd annual District 4-A1 Lions All-Star Football Game are practicing this week under the guidance of head coaches Tony Franks and Rod Long.

Escalon's representative to the game is Mike Sawyer, a 6-5, 265-pound offensive and defensive lineman. He will play for the North team in the classic, with Franks as his head coach. Franks coaches at St. Mary's in Stockton and led his team to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship last fall.

Kickoff for this year's Lions All-Star game is at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 25 at University of the Pacific's Stagg Memorial Stadium.

Sawyer served as an integral part of the Cougar offensive and defensive lines during the 2004 season, as the Cougars again made it to the playoffs. They were stopped short of a trip to UOP, where they won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV crown in 2003.

In last year's all-star game, the North won, 28-7, to take a 17-13-1 lead in the series. The South's last win was by the same score in the 2002 game. The game MVP last year was Escalon running back/defensive back/kicker Jesse Miguel.

The Central Valley Lions All-Star Game is one of the four oldest all-star football games in California and is one of the oldest on the West Coast.

Along with Sawyer, two other players from the Trans-Valley League will suit up for the North squad. Shawn Sweeney and Ben Taylor of Ripon will play alongside Sawyer. Sweeney, 6-1, 215, is an offensive and defensive lineman, while Taylor, at 6-2, 180, is a defensive end.

On the other side of the field will be league rivals from Hilmar, with Tyler Bungard, 6-1, 185, offensive/defensive line and Louie Camboia, 6-1, 185, wide receiver and defensive back, the two Yellowjacket representatives to the all star game.

Coaches from area high schools met in January at two different locations to select the teams, which are comprised of players generally from the Stockton area and north of the Stanislaus River against players generally from the Modesto, Merced area and south of the Stanislaus River.