At a Portola High School assembly last week, football coach Steve Heskett, far right, made the surprise announcement that four of his players were selected to compete in the prestigious Lions All-Star Football Game, which will be held in Redding July 31. Pictured, from left: Cliff Robinson, Alberto Pena, Chase Shirley and Cole Adams. Photo by Diana Jorgenson
3-10-2010 - For more than three decades, the annual Lions All-Star Football Game has grown into a much-anticipated event among prep football fans in Northeastern California.
The best high school senior football players from more than 50 teams throughout the region are selected for the all-star game.
Only 28 players are allowed on each team’s roster, selected from approximately 25 schools that the North and the South each have to chose from.
Most teams get at least one nomination, but there are some seasons when head coaches decide not to nominate any of their players for the all-star game, in recognition that other players from other schools would be more deserving.
As much of an honor as it is to play in the all-star game, it is an equally great honor to be selected as one of the team’s head coaches.
Portola head football coach Steve Heskett was chosen to coach the South at this year’s all-star game, after the Portola Tigers won the Northern Section championship this past season.
At the end of each season, the coaches who won a league or section championship have their names put on a ballot, and then all the head coaches from the region vote for who they think should coach the all-star game.
“Steve Heskett won hands down,” said Mike Niehues, the Lions Coordinator for the South.
Most schools are represented by one or two players on the all-star team, and the maximum allowed is three, except for the two schools the coaches are from.
Because Heskett won the head coaching position for the South, Portola was allowed four slots on this year’s roster.
The four players that will represent Portola at the all-star game are Cole Adams, Alberto Pena, Cliff Robinson and Chase Shirley.
Joining them as a teammate will be Cody Cline, representing Quincy.
This year marks the 33rd Annual Lions All-Star Football Game, which will be played at Shasta High School in Redding Saturday, July 31, beginning at 7 p.m.
Prior to the game, each team will hold a week-long camp to prepare for the big match-up. The South will train in Chico and stay at the Chico State dormitories.
After a week of three-a-day practices, the South will board a bus together and travel up to Redding for the game.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Heskett. “We’ll have a good time.”