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Cruz Flores added to South team
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Practice starts in an hour. Cruz Flores is standing outside his dorm room Thursday afternoon at Cal State Stanislaus. The 2005 Ceres High grad is wearing a yellow and purple jersey and holding a red football helmet.

On June 18, Flores was added to the South roster of the 32nd annual Lions Club All-Star High School Football Game. He replaced Modesto High running back Marcus McGill.

"I deserve to be here," Flores said.

Added South coach Rod Long: "We had a drop and we were able to pick him up. We're thrilled to have him. He's motivated to be here."

In April, Flores didn't receive an invitation to play in the Lions or Rotary All-Star football contests despite ranking second in the Stanislaus District in receiving and earning all-league honors.

"With the Lions Game, you're allowed three players from each school," Long said. "We made the decision to go with Derrick Goblirsch, Brian Borges and Nick Eudy."

Added Flores: "It was between me and Eudy. They needed a lineman."

Rotary coach Dennis Stubbs didn't select Flores because he thought Long picked him up.

"Coach Stubbs crossed me off his list," Flores said.

"There was a mixup."

Flores joined Goblirsch, Borges and Eudy at Cal State Stanislaus on June 19. Members of the South team lived and practiced at the college for a week. Flores missed the first three days of practice at Modesto High the previous week.

"I caught on pretty quick," he said.

Flores roomed with Borges and Downey's Tim Brown. Flores, Borges and the Bulldogs beat Brown's Knights during the regular season. The victory helped Ceres win a share of the inaugural Modesto Metro Conference championship and secure a berth in the playoffs for the second year in a row. Brown fell to his knees and buried his face in his lap as Ceres High's players, coaches and fans celebrated near the 50-yard line. That photo ran on the front page of the Modesto Bee sports section.

"Every night we make fun of him and that picture," Flores said. "We have the picture posted on our doors."

When Flores wasn't at practice, he hung out with his new teammates. They played video games and watched their own highlight tapes in each other's dorm rooms.

"It's unbelievable," Flores said. "I wouldn't have thought it was like this. Everybody here loves football."

Flores starred on the Ceres High varsity football team for two years. The two-time first-team all-league selection hauled in 111 passes for 1,275 yards and seven touchdowns.

Flores had 60 catches for 659 yards and scored three touchdowns during his senior year. He was the third-best receiver in the district as a junior. He caught 51 passes for 616 yards and scored four touchdowns.

Flores flourished under assistant coach Mike Jones' guidance.

"He taught me how to run routes and get open," Flores said.

Flores wouldn't have accepted Long's invitation if it interfered with his summer-school schedule. The biological sciences major is taking several classes at Modesto Junior College, including history, health, touch football and kanaki.

Flores also plans to play for the Modesto JC football team. He's already participated in 7-on-7 scrimmages.

Flores wants to transfer to San Diego State or Fresno State.

"I want to be a dentist," he said. "I looked into it and a lot of people don't want to work on mouths."

The Lions game was played at the University of the Pacific's Stagg Stadium Saturday night. Flores hauled in three passes for 68 yards for the South, which lost 31-15 to the North. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier