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Three area standouts tabbed Lions all-stars
Game to be played at MJC after long run at UOP
Standout receiver T.J. Williams of East Union finds the open field against Sierra on Sept. 30. - photo by HIME ROMERO

One of the four oldest high school all-star football games will be played at Modesto Junior College after long being held at the University of the Pacific’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Stadium.

The inaugural Central California Lions All-Star Classic took place at UOP’s field in 1974. The 39th installment is set for Saturday, June 16. Pregame festivities starts at 6 p.m., and kickoff is at 7.

Three Manteca area standouts were selected to compete for the North team, which boasts a 23-14-1 series lead. The North’s 21-6 victory in 2011 was its seventh in eight years.

Joining Lincoln High head coach Brian Gray on the North are East Union wide receiver T.J. Williams, Sierra receiver Zach Penirian and Ripon Christian linebacker James Vander Schaaf.

It will be the second appearance at an all-star showcase for the 6-foot-2 Williams, who played in the Blue-Grey National All-Star Classic in Florida in January. Last fall, he finished with 55 catches for 848 yards and an area-best 14 touchdown receptions.

Penerian was the area’s best downfield threat, averaging 17 yards per catch. He also hauled down eight touchdowns and led area wide outs with 927 yards.

The hard-hitting Vander Schaaf collected 95 tackles, 2.5 sacks and four forced fumbles for Ripon Christian, which enjoyed its best season with a 7-5 finish and an appearance in the semifinal round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs.

Players hailing from schools in the Sac-Joaquin and Tuolumne counties make up the North roster, while the South team features athletes from Stanislaus and Merced counties. Rich Alkire of Beyer High in Modesto will guide the South.

A banquet will be held this Saturday at the Stockton Italian Athletic Club to honor players and coaches selected. Mark Louriero, head coach of powerhouse Escalon High, will serve as guest speaker.