Early Start for Football Season Today


Football fans from the region might have heard about the 400-yard passing games of quarterback Peter Dirksen of L.A. Baptist High or the 300-yard rushing games of running back Emmanuel Evans of Birmingham last fall.

The double-digit tackle efforts by linebacker Jesse Busta of Crescenta Valley were well-documented as were the offensive line exploits of Jonathan Hicks of North Hollywood.

Today at 4 p.m. fans will be given the opportunity to see those players, and many more, in the Valley Classic All-Star football game at Cal State Northridge.

The game pits the top Valley-region players from City Section schools against those from Southern Section schools.

"It's their one last fling in the Valley," said promoter Chuck Price. "It's the one last chance for fans and fellow students to see these great players before they go off out of the Valley."

Time Warner Cable will televise the game live.

Joey Cuppari of Westlake, who plays in the Southern Section Division III baseball final at 1 p.m. at Dodger Stadium, plans to play in the football game.

"Whether he gets there at the start or at halftime remains to be seen," said Alan Eberhart, co-coach of the Southern Section team.

Chris Oliver of Crescenta Valley, who plays in the Division I baseball final at 7 p.m., will not play.

"I'm a little upset that I can't play in it," said Oliver, the Falcons' starting center fielder, "But this is something that can make up for it. I have a chance to get a ring."

Top players competing in the state track meet, such as Justin Fargas of Notre Dame, Miguel Fletcher of Alemany and Quincy Wright of El Camino Real, will skip the football game.

Eberhart, who coaches at Crescenta Valley, said he and the four Falcons on the Southern Section roster will be hurrying to Dodger Stadium after the football game.

The Southern Section has won both previous Valley Classic games, 7-6 in 1996 and 18-15 last year.

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