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Thoughts from the Holiday Classic

I was up in Sacramento today for the Holiday Classic All-Star Football Game at Grant and watched a pretty good contest featuring a ton of stud athletes. In the end, the East Bay and Sacramento settled for a 13-13 tie after a pair of overtimes. Despite cries from the fans to keep the game going, the decision was made to end it in a tie. Really, it wasn’t worth the risk to keep the game going and risk further injuries. It was a good display from both teams — especially on defense where both sides dominated — and despite the tie, both teams should feel pretty satisfied. The highlight of the game clearly was the 57-yard field goal kicked by Foothill’s James Langford with 56 seconds remaining to tie the game at 6-6 and force overtime. That was easily one of the most amazing things I’ve seen on a high school football field. It topped Langford’s previous career-high in a game of 48 yards (his best in practice is 63). Anyways, here’s the story I wrote for the paper.

By Jimmy Durkin
Oakland Tribune

Neither side earned bragging rights as the first showdown between East Bay and Sacramento all-stars ended in a 13-13 double-overtime tie Saturday at the Holiday Classic All-Star Football Game at Sacramento’s Grant High.

Foothill’s James Langford booted a game-tying 57-yard field goal for the East Bay with 56 seconds remaining and the game was called after both sides matched touchdowns in the second overtime.

“Enough is enough,” East Bay head coach Alonzo Carter of Berkeley said of ending the game that was a defensive struggle most of the way.

Langford, whose previous career long field goal in a game was 48 yards, had plenty of length to spare on his 57-yard boot that he knew was good as soon as it left his foot.

“I knew right away,” Langford said. “I felt that pop and I knew it was good.”

An impressive collection of talent made it tough for the offensive stars on either side to find running room.

“There were too many athletes out there to break out,” said De La Salle’s Terron Ward, the Bay Area News Group East Bay Player of the Year who was limited to one yard on six carries. “But this week was a lot of fun. I got to meet a lot of new people.”

Langford’s tying field goal became necessary when Sacramento scored its first points with just over 4 minutes left to play on a 1-yard touchdown run by Devontae Butler (Grant). A missed PAT kept it 6-3.

In the college-style overtime (in which the teams took possession at the 25), De La Salle’s Tyler Anderson recorded an interception for the East Bay on Sacramento’s opening possession.

Langford, who in the second quarter opened the scoring with a 27-yard field goal, missed a 37-yarder that led to a second overtime.

East Bay had the ball to start the second OT and Jonathan Willis (James Logan) scored on a two-yard quarterback keeper for a 13-6 lead.

Sacramento responded with a 1-yard touchdown run by James Nunley (Woodcreek). Despite cries for the crowd to go for the two-point conversion, Sacramento kicked the PAT to tie the game and the decision was made to end in a deadlock.

Berkeley’s Rickey Galvin led the East Bay with 39 yards on 13 carries and El Cerrito’s Andre Williams had a strong game with four catches for 87 yards.

Jimmy Durkin

Jimmy Durkin is a sports writer for the Bay Area News Group.