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Tri-Valley players to compete in all-star football game

5th annual Holiday Classic set for Dec. 26 in Sacramento

There's a new rivalry in town -- one that doesn't involve Falcons, Dons, Grizzlies or Wolves.

Ten of the Tri-Valley's best senior football players will compete against the Sacramento region on Sunday, Dec. 26, in the fifth annual Holiday Classic All Star Football Game.

This is only the second year that East Bay high school teams have competed, said Organizer Matt Williams. In previous incarnations, Sacramento beat Stockton, Modesto and Merced teams by an average of 50 points. Last year's game against the East Bay division ended in a double-overtime tie.

This year's team includes Dawnson Graham (offensive guard) from Foothill High, and Drew Reil (quarterback), Trevor Taft (wide receiver), Rich Garwood (offensive guard) and Joe Pearson (offensive guard) from California High.

Also laying will be Ben Teichman (defensive line), Kyle Egan (linebacker) and John Sheperdson (long snapper) from San Ramon Valley High, and George and Josh Atkinson (defensive backs) from Granada High.

Players are nominated by their coaches and a committee of several area coaches form the team, Williams said.

"It's a difficult process because there's so many talented players that are left off the squad for one reason or another," he said.

Concord High's Brian Hamilton will coach the Holiday Classic, with other East Bay coaches helping. The team will wear green and white jerseys that they can keep after the game and will also receive a commemorative T-shirt.

As for the odds?

"Both teams are very, very competitive," Williams said. "We have a lot of the stars going on to Division One teams next year and I just want it to be good, clean fun."

The Holiday Classic will be played at Grant Union High School in Sacramento with kickoff at 1 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and those with student IDs. Children under 5 are free.

Grant Union High is located at 1400 Grand Ave., Sacramento.

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