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Offenses look to make it a memorable night

STAFF WRITER

South quarterback Gavin Pruett knows what type of game he’d like.

“Lots of points,” the Capistrano Valley graduate said of Thursday night’s Brea Lions Orange County All-Star Game at Orange Coast College. “Lots of throwing.”

The North and South teams appear stockpiled to do both, but they’ll reverse a trend if they deliver high-powered offenses in the 56th edition of the game. Kickoff is 7:15 p.m.

Defense often rules the O.C. game where limited practices give offenses little time to hone their timing and execution.

The past two games serve as reminders. Last year, the North snapped a five-year losing streak with a 12-6 victory. In 2013, the South won, 7-3.

There are exceptions to every trend. For example, the Inland Empire defeated Orange County, 69-16, in the areas’ inaugural all-star game in January.

The North and South will employ spread attacks featuring quarterbacks well-versed in their systems. Pruett’s coach at Capistrano Valley, Ernie Bucher, leads the South team, while North coach Mike Enright of Rancho Alamitos has his record-setting quarterback, Nick Brown.

Last season, Pruett passed for 3,009 yards and 26 touchdowns for a Cougars offense that averaged almost 34 points per game. Brown threw for 4,120 yards and a county-record 52 TDs, helping the Vaqueros average just over 36 points per game.

Both quarterbacks have loaded receiving corps. The South features the Corona del Mar duo of Bo St. Geme and Cole Collins, who combined for 104 receptions last season.

Bucher has been impressed with the duo’s ability to make adjustments on the fly.

“Stuff you can’t coach in eight days,” he said.

Brown has three targets cut from the tight end/receiver mold: Villa Park’s Christian Williams (6-3, 225), Los Alamitos’ Matt Nelson (6-4, 230) and Whittier Christian’s Noah Evans (6-4, 230).

Enright and Bucher considered the offensive weapons when discussing the keys to the game, which features an all-time series tied, 26-26-3.

“The line play on both sides is going to be key because of the way both teams run their offenses,” Enright said. “The second thing is going to be the receiver-defensive back match-ups.

“Is anyone going to have a receiver that the other team’s DBs can’t control?”

In regards to line play, Enright believes the North’s strength is its defensive line.

Bucher stressed the importance of turnovers and exchanges with the ball.

“We need to make sure we protect the football,” he said.

Last month, Pruett guided the East to a 10-7 victory in the 605 All-Star Game at Cerritos College.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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