Football bragging rights in Pasco County again are up for grabs — at the upcoming 2021 FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) East-West Classic all-star game.
The seventh annual showcase is slated for Dec. 10 at 7 p.m., at Sunlake High School Field, 3023 Sunlake Blvd., in Land O’ Lakes.
The game — organized by the Pasco County Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) — features dozens of the best senior players from 15 county high schools (13 public, two private).
The event is branded as, “the best players from every position, from every school, showcasing their talent.”
Tickets are $10 and can be pre-purchased at any participating high school and at the Sunlake stadium ticket gate on gameday. Tickets also are available online at 2021PascoAllStars.eventbrite.com.
Parking will be $5.
Players on the East squad will represent Cypress Creek, Land O’ Lakes, Pasco, Wesley Chapel, Wiregrass Ranch, Zephyrhills, and Zephyrhills Christian high schools.
Players on the West squad will represent Anclote, Bishop McLaughlin Catholic, Fivay, Gulf, Hudson, Sunlake, Mitchell and River Ridge high schools.
Land O’ Lakes head coach Trac Baughn will lead the East squad and Hudson head coach Tim Hicks will guide the West squad.
Baughn steered the Gators to a 9-1 record, playing an independent schedule.
Hicks led the Cobras to a 6-4 mark, and qualified for the playoffs for the first time within district play since 2013.
To select the rosters, coaches from each county high school gather in a “war room” and draft players from every school, and every position.
After much deliberation, the all-star teams get whittled down to 40 players in the East and 40 players in the West.
Wesley Chapel garnered the most All-Star team selections with nine picks, followed by Zephyrhills (eight), Mitchell (seven), River Ridge (seven) and Sunlake (seven), respectively.
The squads are scheduled to begin practices on Nov. 30, where they will devise various plays and strategies.
The idea for a countywide all-star football game was spearheaded several years ago by FCA area director Bob Durham, upon the suggestion of local FCA board of directors. The directors recommended the annual event, pointing to the success of long-established all-star games in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
The local FCA chapter also organizes an annual Pasco County All-Star baseball and softball game in the spring.
The gridiron matchup has proven to be a hit among fans, typically drawing a couple thousand attendees each year.
The all-time series is tied 3-3, though the West team has won the past two years, with scores of 28-0 in 2020 and 23-21 in 2019.
For many players, the showcase provides a chance to perform in front of college recruiters, many of whom attend the game from across the Southeast region.
Though it may signal the last football game ever for some, the event also will feature athletes destined for big-time NCAA Division I FBS football, such as Zephyrhills linebacker Maguire Neal (University of North Carolina at Charlotte verbal commit), Hudson wideout Ladamien Starks (University of Maryland scholarship offer), and Wesley Chapel linebacker Jorden McCaslin (Marshall University scholarship offer), among others.
In addition to the all-star game, players will be recognized at a dinner banquet at Word of Life Fellowship in Hudson, where character awards, courage awards, GPA awards, and various skill awards will be distributed. A “Coach of the Year’” also will be named and voted on by county coaches. An all-star cheerleader team has been assembled for the showcase, too.
The FCA is a 68-year-old ministry in public schools. There are chapters in every high school in Pasco and at five middle schools. Through the many student-led meetings, or “huddles,” that take place on campuses, the FCA works to promote character, integrity, leadership and faith-based principles.
For more information, visit PascoAllStarGame.com, or email Bob Durham at .
Cypress Creek: Andrew Burgess, Dontrell Clerkley, Colton Corrao, Kione Roberson, Owen Walls
Land O’ Lakes: David Alejandro, Calvin Cockerman, Nick Kleoppel, Xavier Lewis, Hunter Sullivan, Isaiah Tavo
Pasco: Ethan Ayo, Elijah Chilbert, Javon Jeune, Cody Tadlock
Wesley Chapel: Jaylan Blake, Dylan Chana, Sebastian Gutierrez, Ethan Harper, Nehemiah Morgan, Jorden McCaslin, Briac Riles, Ayden Roysdon, Tony Salatino
Wiregrass Ranch: Abram Beer, Nate Kidd, Christian Loaiza, Steven Prevaux, Logan Ridolph, Tucker Schwab
Zephyrhills: TJ Jackson, Tymar McKever, Maguire Neal, Willie Queen, Jackson Rivera, Nick Sheldon, Theotis Smith, Jalen Thomas
Zephyrhills Christian: Austin Henderson, Dontrevius Jackson, Adrian Miller, Donnie Lloyd, Reggie Pry, Demetri Whitehead
Head coach: Trac Baughn, Land O’ Lakes
Jason Stokes, Pasco
Cameron Culbertson, Wesley Chapel
Mark Kantor, Wiregrass Ranch
Nick Carroll, Zephyrhills
Mike Smith, Zephyrhills Christian
Anclote: Gavin Allen, Alec Hale, Daryon James, Quinten Moore
Bishop McLaughlin: Ben Norris
Fivay: Steven Carrol, Zario McCray, Nick Monfre, Melvin Rivera
Gulf: Keonte Adams, Al Blanton, Terrance Henderson, Angel Ortiz
Hudson: Ivan Barahona, Tyler Gauci, Victor Gouveia, Cole Kanehl, Bryan Lindsay, Ladamien Starks, Hunter Young
Mitchell: Adam Buannano, Tyler Geary, Adrian Divcic, Hunter McFarland, Trey Montgomery, Ethan Rice, Deomari Thorpe
River Ridge: Anthony Adams, Mason Cline, John Finch, Tyler Gillespie, Trenton Hawks, Ali Mumtaz, Aiden Schmitz
Sunlake: Owen Campione, Quinn Hewitt, Zeph Johnson, Daniel Lester, Luis Nunez, Kevin Spillane
Head coach: Tim Hicks, Hudson
Antony Smith, Anclote
Ken Stills, Bishop McLaughlin
Billy Blair, Fivay
Sean Eperjesi, Gulf
Tim Boggess, Mitchell
Ryan Benjamin, River Ridge
Jordan Gold, Sunlake
Cypress Creek: Faith Welling, Campbell Young
Land O’ Lakes: Peyton Fields, Breana McClung, Paige Randall
Pasco: Haley Enea, Kylie Weiser
Wesley Chapel: Arianna Kiser, Dehlia Lussier
Wiregrass Ranch: Alexis Burns, Chloe Gilligan
Zephyrhills: Emily Kirk, Madison Long
Coach: Ashley Linden, Land O’ Lakes
Anclote: Crystal Le, Lacey Vey
Bishop McLaughlin: Courtney Deese, Niki Papageorgiou
Mitchell: Hailey Dolen, Colson Gantt
Coach: Mathea Frerichs, Gulf
Pasco County East-West Classic year-by-year results:
2020: West wins 28-0
2019: West wins, 23-21
2018: East wins, 29-22
2017: East wins, 17-14
2016: West wins, 27-21
2015: East wins, 14-2
Published November 17, 2021