Football: Anzar duo in All-Star game

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Anzar High senior Andrew Huaracha was selected to play in the 31st annual Monterey County All-Star Game.

When Angel Jimenez and Andrew Huaracha played their final football game for Anzar High on Nov. 7, the emotion was palpable. The seniors love the game with a passion, so it’s no surprise both players shed plenty of tears afterward.
“Just thinking it was the last time I’d ever be playing high school football, and the last time ever being in a competitive environment made it emotional,” Huaracha said.
Make that the second to last time. Jimenez and Huaracha will be playing in the 31st annual Monterey County All-Star Game on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. at Rabobank Stadium. The majority of the players are from the Monterey Bay and Mission Trail League, comprising Monterey, San Benito and southern Santa Clara County.
Along with three players from rival Trinity Christian, Jimenez and Huaracha are the only players from the 8-man Mission Trail League. Not only will Jimenez and Huaracha get one last chance to put on the shoulder pads, they’ll get to play the traditional 11-man game for the first time since their last year of playing youth football when they were eighth-graders.
“It’s been a while since I played on an 11-man team, so it’ll be a little weird,” Huaracha said.
“I’m stoked to play 11-man football,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez and Huaracha have cemented their status as being two of Anzar’s best players in the program’s brief five-year history, physical talents who probably would’ve excelled at the 11-man game at the high school level as well. Now they’ll get a chance to prove it. All-Star games at the prep level are played with far more intensity than any of the professional ones, as players go hard for the duration of the contest.
“Right when I found out I would be playing in the game, I was like, ‘Oh damn, this is going to get serious,’” Jimenez said. “I’m going to play with some of the best players around the area, so I’ll need to step it up.”
Said Huaracha, a Hollister resident: “It’s a really good opportunity to see if I had gone to San Benito, to see how good I would’ve been able to compete on an 11-man football team. Playing with the best players in the counties, I’m hoping it’s super competitive because I want to see everyone’s best.”
Both players have been working out regularly since the football season ended. The 5-foot-8, 195-pound Jimenez is intent on playing at the community college level in hopes of transferring to a four-year school and extending his playing career. He was a running back and linebacker for Anzar.
The 5-11, 205-pound Huaracha, who carries a 3.9 GPA, played linebacker, tight end and carried the ball in short-yardage situations.
Alvarez’s Dave Bottom and Salinas’ Steve Goodbody have been selected as the coaches for the game, and both have chosen a local charity to represent: the Children’s Miracle Network and Salinas Jaycees. Donation bins will be set up around Rabobank Stadium in support of these causes, and money raised from the game will be donated to each charity.
The winning team will be awarded a bonus donation on behalf of its cause. Jimenez and Huaracha have been looking forward to the game since they were notified via email they had been selected to play. Huaracha realizes the Monterey County All-Star Game will be the final time he plays football in a competitive setting.
“Football has always been a huge part of my life,” he said. “It taught me a lot of lessons on respect, and the team aspects of the game will apply to regular life when I go to college or when I get a job. I’m going to have to be able to work with people and find their strengths and weaknesses. Football has taught me a lot of valuable lessons I’ll use later in life.”

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