CAMPBELL, Calif. - On Jan. 25, stand-out senior football players from all over the Central Coast Section suited up one last time to compete in the 46th annual Charlie Wedemeyer all-star game, hosted at Westmont High School.
The legendary Charlie Wedemeyer coached at Los Gatos during the 80’s, but he was unfortunately diagnosed with ALS in 1977. However, Wedemeyer fought ALS for an incredible 33 years before passing away in 2010. This event, which honors Wedemeyer and all that he did for the community, showcases 90 players that are divided onto North and South teams based off of the location of their school. This year, the South defeated the North 33-14 in an action-packed matchup full of high caliber play.
Los Gatos quarterback Yost Girvan and Saratoga quarterback Peyton Stokes led the way for the South. Girvan had two total touchdowns on the night, and he had the luxury of having Los Gatos receiver Gian Lagemann on his side, who was his go-to during the Wildcats’ historic CCS winning season. Lagemann finished with a rushing touchdown. On top of that, Stokes also had Saratoga tight end George Bian, who was his go-to during their season. As the quarterbacks split time, these respective dynamic duos picked up a lot of yardage for the South. Branham running back Cameron Rynhard and Oak Grove running back Malique Sumler took charge on the ground for the South.
“It’s cool to be able to compete with each other instead of against each other,” said Girvan, who had worked out with Stokes regularly last offseason. Los Gatos and Saratoga are longtime school rivals. “It brings us together in a different way after being at odds with each other during the regular season.”
The North featured a stacked quarterback rotation of Ricky Anaya from Silver Creek, Matthew Ngyuen for Piedmont Hills, and Jovin Beccara from Milpitas. Wilcox running back Paul Rosa led the rushing game along with Melvon Bellard from Overfelt, who also played wide receiver and cornerback. Bellard finished with one touchdown.
Rynhard set the tone for the South during their first drive, where he had explosive back to back 32-yard gains to put the South in the red zone. Rynhard sealed the strong start with a 9-yard rushing touchdown, but a missed PAT from Cupertino kicker Jake Barbeau made the score 6-0 with 9:02 in the first quarter.
The North wouldn’t respond until late in the quarter, when Anaya made a last second option pitch to Bellard for a 9-yard rushing touchdown. A good PAT from Monta Vista kicker Giovanni Vurro put the North ahead 7-6 with 2:16 left in the quarter.
After an impressive drive with big plays from Sumler and Lagemann, the South found themselves on the 1-yard line on fourth down early in the second quarter. Instead of kicking a short field goal, South head coach Chris Oswald from Cupertino made the call to go for it. Lagemann punched in for a 1-yard rushing touchdown, and a good PAT from Barbeau put the South ahead 13-7.
Later in the second quarter, Los Gatos cornerback Jared Quandt came down with a huge interception for the South, which put them on their own 28. Girvan then led the South down to the North’s 17-yard line, where he threw a risky pass deep into the endzone to Cupertino receiver Demarcus Oandasan for a touchdown. Another good PAT from Barbeau made the score 20-7 and both teams headed to the locker room for halftime.
The North started off the 3rd quarter with some fire with a 43-yard rush from Bellard. Jovin Beccara made his debut at quarterback for the North, and he quickly threw a 37-yard bomb to Homestead receiver Harold Rucker III for a touchdown. A good PAT from Vurro made the score 14-20, but unfortunately for the North, that would be the last score of the night for them.
The South offense responded with a long 80-yard drive led by Stokes and Bian. On the goaline, Girvan was subbed in on 4th and inches where he snuck in for a touchdown. Barbeau made his PAT again, which put the South ahead 30-14.
Barbeau would go on to do the rest of the scoring for the South throughout the remainder of the game, putting up a 27-yard and a 33-yard field goal.
At the end of the game, players from both sides shook hands, with some even embracing each other in hugs as they knew just how special it was to be able to play in this game.
“It was really fun meeting new guys from around the area,” Lagemann said after the game. “I also made the bonds I had with my highschool teammates even better, which was cool.”