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Hawks, Dawgs to play as all-stars
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Ceres High's Matt Smith and Thomas Vanderlaan, and Central Valley High School's Gerald Garcia, Sean McLeod and Cameron Moscozo have accepted invitations to play in the 23rd North/South Rotary All-Star Football Game this Friday at Chowchilla High School's Henry Massaro Stadium.

They'll suit up for the North squad, which is being coached by Pitman's Brandon Harris.

"It's going to be fun," said McLeod, who will log time on the defensive line. "It's kind of bittersweet. It's the last time we'll be playing in high school. But we'll see each other again."

"It means a lot to me," said Smith, who will handle kicking duties and contribute at tight end. "It's my last high-school game. It's going to be a challenge for me. Hopefully, I'll be able to show off my skills."

Matt, an All Sac-Joaquin Section Football Team honorable-mention selection as announced last November by the National Football Foundation Sacramento Chapter, punted 50 times for 1,918 yards. The Valley Oak League first-team pick had six punts over 50 yards. He also had four punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

Smith contributed in other areas too.

He tallied 1,294 yards and six touchbacks with a long of 60 on 27 kickoffs.

He ranked third on the team in tackles (55) while playing linebacker. He also had three sacks, two quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery and a pass deflection.

Matt rushed for a team-high 433 yards and scored one touchdown on 123 attempts.

McLeod made the VOL second team. He starred on the defensive line. Sean accumulated 67 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, nine quarterback hurries and four pass deflections. He also returned a fumble recovery 96 yards for a touchdown.

"I never would have thought I'd come this far when I first started," said McLeod when asked about playing in his second all-star game along with Garcia. They suited up for the South in the KCRA Blitz 3 Holiday Classic last December at Grant High School.

Vanderlaan, Moscozo and Garcia received honorable-mention accolades.

Thomas started at center on offense. He registered 17 tackles while playing on the defensive line.

Cameron started on the offensive line, which paved the way for tailbacks Joaquin Casas and Vince Lopez to rush for a combined 1,560 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Gerald totaled 46 tackles and two interceptions at defensive back. He was also the team's go-to receiver. Garcia caught 52 passes for 579 yards and six touchdowns.

Ceres High's and Central Valley's varsity programs battled twice the past two seasons. The Bulldogs won the first-ever meeting, 20-7, in 2006. The Hawks held on for a 25-20 victory in 2007.

McLeod, Moscozo and Garcia attended Ceres High prior to the opening of Central Valley in 2005-06.

Sean, Cameron and Thomas led the Bulldogs' freshman football program to a Modesto Metro Conference championship.

Gerald and Matt were members of Ceres High's JV squad. They teamed up at the youth level as well.

"We've played together since Cowboys," Smith said.

Gerald, Sean and Cameron plan to play football at Modesto Junior College in the fall.

Matt joined the U.S. Marines. He'll complete his basic training in San Diego.