- Published on Tuesday, 07 July 1998 20:28
- Written by Pete Borello - Town Crier Staff Writer
Like any all-star exhibition, the participants in next week's Charlie Wedemeyer All-Star Football Game intend to have fun. However, this doesn't mean these high school standouts won't take the game seriously.
Just ask Mountain View High fullback Mike Caldwell.
"I want to have fun, but I also want to do well," Caldwell said. "It's a big game and I want to help our team win."
St. Francis offensive lineman Joe Escobar agrees.
"I think every one's playing to win," Escobar said. "No one's willing to lose an all-star game."
Caldwell and Escobar are among eight seniors from the area slated to play in the county all-star game at 7:30 p.m. July 22 at San Jose State's Spartan Stadium.
Joining them on the North team will be defensive back Ryan Gutierrez of Los Altos, kicker Bryan Beall of St. Francis, defensive back Fred Shepherd and tight end Brent Bower of Gunn, plus defensive lineman Matt Kenney and linebacker Chris Brooker of Homestead.
In all, more than 100 players from the class of 1998 are expected to take part in the 24th annual charity game, which pits North vs. South. The all-star classic is named after the former Los Gatos High football coach who's been fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease since 1977.
The teams have been practicing since July 8, with the North working out at Lynbrook High. And so far, Gutierrez likes what he's seen from his teammates.
"I'm excited because we have a lot of good players," Gutierrez said. "And we seem to be working well together."
Playing well as a team and individually can only help these players further their careers.
Escobar, for example, doesn't plan to play football this fall, but said he hopes to transfer from UC-Riverside to Cal-Berkeley next year to continue his career. He knows an impressive performance in front of the throng of recruiters expected at the game will improve his chances.
"I look forward to meeting (the scouts)," Escobar said.
Gutierrez, who's also taking a year off from football, is eager to please the scouts as well.
"I just want to go out there and shine," he said.
Another player hoping to make an impression is Caldwell. He intends to play at West Valley College this fall and then transfer to a four-year school.
"It's a great honor to play in this game, and if I do well it can only help me," Caldwell said.
Perhaps no player is more excited about making the all-star team than Shepherd, a former Los Altos Hills resident.
"This is my dream," said Shepherd, who will play for Cabrillo College this fall. "I planned on making this game before last season even started."
Tickets to the game are $8 (kids under 5 get in free) and can be purchased in advance by calling the San Jose Box Office at (408) 246-1160.