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Local trio preparing for Saturday’s Lions All-Star Game
Lions All-Star Football Game
Manteca linebacker Tommy Perea pressures Kimball quarterback Josiah Wilson during a Valley Oak League game on Sept. 29. - photo by Wayne Thallander

 Manteca High graduates C.J. King and Tommy Perea will team up with Xzavier Clark of Ripon and many other top players from the region Saturday in the 48th Central California Lions All-Star Football Game on Saturday at Tracy High.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Wayne Schneider Stadium.

The local trio will try to help reverse the fortunes for the North all-stars, who have dropped four of the last five. The South rolled to a 38-13 win last year but still trail all-time, 26-18-2. The 2023 game marked the return of the event after a three-year break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The North team is headed by Alex Mechikoff, who is entering his second season at Linden. Last fall, Mechikoff’s small-school Lions finished as runners-up in the large-school San Joaquin Athletic Association, finishing 9-3 overall. The North is made up of athletes from San Joaquin, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.

The South is co-coached by the much-accomplished tandem of Roger Canepa and Shaun King. Canepa became the winningest coach in Sac-Joaquin Section history (283) last season with Central Catholic when the Raiders knocked off Edison 34-20 in the Division I quarterfinals. The four-time state champion began his coaching career at Sonora in 1990 before moving onto Calaveras (1996-2007).

King is going into his seventh season at Hughson, which is the two-time defending SJS Division VI champion and the 2022 Division V-AA state champion.

Perea was a three-year varsity linebacker for Manteca (8-4). He and King, who played center, helped the Buffaloes capture the SJS Division II title in 2022. Both were named to the All-Valley Oak League first team.

Clark was the featured weapon in Ripon’s Wing-T offense the past two seasons, earning a spot on the All-Trans Valley League second team in his injury-shortened senior campaign.

Admission cost is $15, and tickets can be purchased in advance through GoFan or at the gate (cash only).