Thoughts from the Holiday Classic All Star game

Well, I have to say I was surprised by the 23-8 win by Sacramento in Sunday’s Holiday Classic All Star football game. Not that Sacramento beat the East Bay, but by the mere eight points scored. With the talent the East Bay had on offense, I was figuring they’d get into the 30s easily. But this goes to show how much football is a team game.

The main factor in the low scoring was the Sacramento defense. Their front seven dominated and really put pressure on Ricky Lloyd and Ikaika Woolsey. Both were scrambling the entire game and rarely had the opportunity to sit back and read the defense. Lloyd made some great plays and great throws, but with only a week to work with the receivers, the timing and instincts weren’t always there. One play in particular was a double-reverse flea flicker where Lloyd launched one deep to an open Trevor Taft. The ball ended up being just long after it appeared Taft might have slowed down for a step or two. You have to think if that was a play they had been working on for weeks, it might’ve turned out differently.

There were some highlights for the East Bay. Bishop O’Dowd’s Trenton Trammell made a fabulous interception when he basically jumped in front of a receiver while both players where going back for the ball and he cut him off to pick it off. De La Salle’s Antoine Pickett also had an interception. The play I was probably the most impressed with was an option run by Dano Graves. McClymonds’ Marcus Peters (who was playing safety because of the East Bay’s depth at corner), flew in from the backside and caught Graves from behind for a seven-yard loss. Washington’s DeAndre Carter also had a nice game and caught the lone touchdown pass from Lloyd.

Overall it was a pretty good day for football. It was cool and crisp and the rain stayed away. A good crowd on both sides. I’d say a good enough showing by East Bay folks that hopefully next year’s game may get alternated down to the East Bay. Here’s my story that ran in today’s paper:

By Jimmy Durkin
SACRAMENTO — A stingy Sacramento defense shut down the East Bay’s potent offensive weapons to produce a 23-8 victory in Sunday’s Holiday Classic All Star football game at Grant High.
The East Bay managed just 157 yards of total offense, including a net rushing total of minus-10 yards.
“A lot of great defensive lineman,” East Bay coach Brian Hamilton of Concord said about Sacramento. “They did a great job.”
Concord’s Ricky Lloyd was forced out of the pocket most of the afternoon by the stiff Sacramento pass rush. The new owner of the Northern California single-season record for passing yardage was limited to 13 of 32 passing for 151 yards, two interceptions and one touchdown.
“The (Sacramento) d-line stepped it up and kind of threw us for a loop,” said the Southern Miss-bound Lloyd.
Sacramento led 10-0 when the East Bay scored its only points late in the second quarter. A fourth-down defensive pass interference called kept the East Bay’s drive alive and Lloyd found DeAndre Carter (Washington) in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard scoring pass. The same duo connected on the two-point conversion.
The opening kick off the second half spelled doom for the East Bay. George Atkinson III (Granada) fielded the kick and tried to hand off to his twin brother Josh Atkinson on a reverse, but the exchange was fumbled and Sacramento recovered.
That mistake was quickly converted into a 2-yard run by quarterback Dano Graves, who accounted for 85 touchdowns this season while leading Folsom to the California Interscholastic Federation Division II state title.
Sacramento scored again on its next drive on a 14-yard run by Quincy Forte (Vacaville) that put the game out of reach. Graves had a game-high 66 yards rushing on nine carries and also had a first-quarter touchdown pass to Mason Hastings (Pleasant Grove).
Among the East Bay highlights were interceptions by Antoine Pickett (De La Salle) and Trenton Trammell (Bishop O’Dowd). Carter caught five passes for 45 yards.
“The kids were great,” Hamilton said. “They were unbelievable. All the kids were ready to work. It’s a great tribute to all the coaches in the East Bay.”

Jimmy Durkin

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

  • observer

    Thanks Jimmy! Seems like there weren’t many Prep Corner contributors that went to the game, nice to read your thoughts about it.

  • A two-hour drive on an NFL Sunday afternoon the day after Christmas probably doesn’t inspire a whole lot of people, so that’s why I’m guessing many didn’t go. There was a good crowd, but with 45 or so kids playing in an All-Star game, I’m guessing it was mostly their families and some coaches. It was a fun game, but I think a switch to a differnt day might do it some good. I’ll be interested to see when they play it next year. It’s always been Dec. 26 from what I hear, but a Monday afternoon game (when some people may have to be back at work) might not work too well.

  • monarch86

    Regarding the Holiday Classic several issues first the Sac D-line had a number of kids (Grant) that were huge (Lopa,Moala,Sau)but the biggest issue was Hamilton’s game plan – he didn’t try to establish any ground game and sent the message that he was going to let Ricky’s arm win the game. Once Sac adjusted to that and started blitzing every down it was a jail break every play. The biggest guys on the East Bay O-line weren’t as strong or as technically sound as they needed to be to win those battles (interestingly he moved his biggest tackles to the guard position)and for any LLoyd-haters the kid is the real deal and a solid leader (Pac 10 you missed out). In addition, you saw an amazing variety of football intelligence and discipline from palyer to player based on the program they were representing.

  • fast and physical

    Ricky Lloyd is the Truth, S Miss found a gem, Brian taught him well, Good luck in the future to this young man, he showed great poise yesterday.

  • eastbayallday

    we got worked. our o-line was getting clowned. how are we bigger than them and still didnt slow them down?? can we pass protect? i still think other players were left out that shouldve went and couldve blocked those islanders from Grant. what a waste of my time. we shouldve had more kids from concord to help ricky. i was embarrassed. we shouldve had more kids who play our offense.

    at least we get to host next year…different results.

  • eastbayallday

    Lloyd will be all league for sure. don’t worry about that. he is talented.

  • East Bay Coach

    SectionSports.com Staff

    Talk about it in the Message Boards

    QB: Ricky Lloyd, Concord
    RB: Lucas Dunne, De La Salle
    RB: George Atkinson, Granada
    WR: Kelly Starnes, Concord
    WR: Bryce McGovern, Monte Vista
    TE: Trevor Taft, California
    OT: Michael Padovese, Marin Catholic
    OT: Freddie Tagaloa, Salesian
    OG: Jacob Welter, Monte Vista
    OG: Tavita Taito, Deer Valley
    OC: Dawson Graham, Foothill


    QB: Nick Sherry, Casa Grande
    RB: Carson Seanor, Healdburg
    RB: Alex Pica, Concord
    WR: Terrence Young, Concord
    WR: Terrence King, Bishop O’Dowd
    TE: Tyler White, Casa Grande
    OT: Joshua Morrow, Encinal
    OT: Isaiah Henderson, Berkeley
    OG: Ross Dolbec, Miramonte
    OG: Joe Pearson, California
    OC: William Strauss, Heritage


    DE: Trent Mahler, Concord
    DE: Dylan Wynn, De La Salle
    DT: Nick Mazza, Clayton Valley
    DT: Willy Thompson, Concord
    LB: Eddie Horn, Granada
    LB: Kyle Egan, San Ramon Valley
    LB: Blake Renaud, De La Salle
    CB: Josh Atkinson, Granada
    CB: Bo Banks, Encinal
    S: Antoine Pickett, De La Salle
    S: Trevor Taft, California


    DE: Nick Kristofors, San Marin
    DE: Tanner Clark, Granada
    DT: George McCloud, American
    DT: Gary Randolph, Healdsburg
    LB: Jacai Deneveu, Berkeley
    LB: Garrett Ransom, Deer Valley
    LB: Micah McMurray, Arroyo
    CB: Cody Ryden, For Bragg
    CB: Jordan Fogal, Arroyo
    S: Michael Davis, Kelseyville
    S: Dane Turner, Monte Vista

  • It’s sure going to look great with all those selections from Ben and Jimmie in the paper. That’s all that counts- season over.

  • The last one standing speaks for itself. 11 on the 3 teams.

  • Wow- Servite had 8 players make all Orange County, 5 on defense. Guess those De La Salle offensive lineman that aren’t very good must have caught Servite on a night off. East Bay Coach, go to the doghouse and DO NOT pass GO and collect $ 200. Your running back selection had less than 100 yds. in 4 games against that De La defense in 2 years- that’s 25 yds. per game.

  • Old Former Meddling Coach.

    Welll Gentlemen See ya when the season starts again! Jet Pride!

  • matty

    No the game isn’t always on the 26th. It’s always on the Saturday after the state championships. But obviously this past Saturday was Christmas so we got the CIF blessing to move it to Sunday. That was just a coincidence on the 26th. 🙂 But i can easily see how east Bay fans think that way. I thought the crowd was ok given it was Sunday, the weather was blah and it was a day after Christmas.

    The game is up at http://www.wannaplaycollegesports.com Click on the allstar link and go do something else for ten minutes. Its high resolution so it takes time to load. Put your computer on full screen and it looks very nice.