Despite conflicts, All-Star Game remains summer staple
The Brea Lions Orange County All-Star Game is entering its 56th year, making it a significant part of the county's football scene.
Each year, players and coaches talk about being honored to get the opportunity to be part of the annual summer showcase.
But lately the question has come up: Should the game be moved to the winter or spring?
Those involved, on and off the field, in the contest Thursday at Orange Coast College voiced mixed opinions on the matter.
“I like playing in July. It’s the only game being played this close to the school year,” said Tesoro offensive lineman Zach Hickman, who is playing for the South All-Stars. “I’ve been to all the (O.C. All-Star) games since I was little and it’s always a good turnout so I think it’s good the way it is.”
The game's organizers want to put the best players the county has to offer on the field, but playing the game in July doesn’t always allow that to happen.
“I think you could get a couple more kids out here if they moved it earlier in the year, but I still think we get a great turnout for being so late,” said Capistrano Valley quarterback Gavin Pruett, who is also on the South roster.
College football teams are starting practices earlier in the summer, which is detrimental to long-running all-star games such as the Brea Lions game. The conflict means some of the top players have to pass up a chance to play in the games, and that means fans don't get a chance to see the best players in action.
The issue for the game's organizers comes down to whether changing the time of the game would produce better results in terms of player participation and fan interest.
“I think there are three factors that have stopped us from changing the time of the game,” said O.C. All-Star Game coordinator Phil Anton. “The first is the players. Most of these kids are two- or three-sport athletes who wouldn’t be able to play earlier in the year anyways due to basketball or baseball (commitments).
"The second reason is that in January you risk having issues with weather. Lastly, a lot of the coaches would rather not have us using their facilities during the school year. But I don’t think I would rule out moving the game.”