Seth Shaw file photo

2021 Imperial High School Seth Shaw

IMPERIAL – For most varsity football players the 2022 season is over, however a handful of local standouts were selected to participate in the 32nd annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic held Saturday, December 10 at Mira Mesa High School in San Diego. 

The teams were divided by North and South County San Diego with the Imperial and Central players assigned to the North Squad. 

For Imperial, Aiden Shields, Zach Ray, and Seth Shaw were chosen. Gavin Marini and Damian Rodriguez were selected for Central. All players must be seniors.

Coaches nominate the players and then one more vetting process occurs before the final selections are made. 

North County, with the Imperial and Central players, won 29-13. The game was 13-13 at halftime, with North County dominating the second half. 

As per coaches, everybody played roughly the same amount of time on the field.

Imperial's Shields was awarded defensive captain honors for the North and received a plaque.

“The players that were selected are players that took care of business during the season,” Imperial head football coach David Shaw. “The game was super competitive.” 

Coaches explained how the level of competitiveness and interaction in these post season all-star games is very helpful for the players.

“The coolest thing about it is that our local kids got to become friends with players from San Diego,” Shaw said. Shaw said the game is a good interaction of the student-athletes getting to play against various schools from San Diego in one game. 

“There is different competition at another level in the all-star practices as well as the all-star game itself,” said Shaw. “The dynamic at practice is good. Everybody gets along - you can see that they are having a good time and they are competing all in the same.”

Coach Shaw highlighted how, aside from the game, college recruiters are often in the stands, which gives the local kids another opportunity to get scouted to play college ball.  

“There are a lot of college recruiters at these games so the good thing about it is that our local kids get exposure to these college recruiters,” said Shaw. “Many of which move on to get offers to play at the next level.”

“It’s a good experience for the kids,” said Shaw. “They all worked hard to play in these games, and they’ll all get another opportunity put on their helmets and represent themselves and their schools one more time.” 

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