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Four local standouts selected for all-star game
Manteca defensive lineman Josh Nkwocha (45) will be one of four area players to participate in the 38th Annual Lions All-Star Football Game this summer in Stockton. Nkwocha and Co. will join Tracy High quarterback, left, Casey Wichman on the North Team. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: 38th Annual Lions All-Star Game
• WHEN: Saturday, June 18
• WHERE: Stagg Memorial Stadium (UOP)
• PREGAME: 6 p.m.
• KICKOFF: 7 p.m.

The 2011 Lions All-Star Football Game rosters for the North and South teams were announced, and four area standouts will get the opportunity to close their high school football careers in the marquee Central Valley event amongst the best players in the area.

Players selected will be honored in the annual Lions All-Star Banquet this Saturday at Petersen Events Center in Modesto. The guest speaker is former NFL tight end Brian Peets, a Linden High graduate and past participant of the Lions All-Star Game.

Manteca High’s Robert Ladiges will join Valley Oak League co-champion teammates Matt Burrows and Josh Nkwocha during the mid-summer festivities along with Ripon High standout Andy Bunting.

Ladiges closed his senior year football season as the VOL’s Most Valuable Player as well as Bulletin’s All-Area MVP. The 5-foot-9-inch 200 pound running back was no stranger to the end zone, finishing with 1,650 yards (6.1 per carry) and 25 touchdowns — tied for fifth most in the section.

His quarterback Burrows was impressive in his own right, closing the season with over 2,000 yards passing 21 touchdowns. Burrows helped lead Manteca to a portion of the league title, and  was also named the Offensive Player of the Year for the Bulletin and the VOL.

Defensively, the North squad will see some action from both Bunting and Nkwocha. Bunting was the key component for the Indians defensive line, accumulating 61 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two recovered.  Nkwocha  held down the middle of the Buffaloes defensive unit with a team-high 19 tackles for losses. His 60 overall tackles were second most on the team, helping him earn a first-team All-VOL defensive spot.

The four players will help form the North squad for the 38th annual installment of the high school event. Lodi High head coach Todd Dillon, who actually starred in the contest earning MVP honors in 1980, will coach the North.

The North is coming off of a 15-14 victory a year ago, and will definitely look to improve on their 22-14-1 current record. The game is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at The University of the Pacific’s Stagg Memorial Stadium, with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

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