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Local standouts boost North Squad in Optimist All-Star game

By: Eric J. Gourley, Gold Country News Service
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SACRAMENTO — Del Oro High School graduate Hunter Pahl's seven sacks played a big part in helping the North squad win the 52nd Annual Optimist All-Star Football Game Saturday night in Sacramento. Offensively, Colfax High School graduate Luke Cook completed 6-of-12 passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns, leading the North squad to a 33-20 win over the South at American River College’s Beaver Stadium. “I’m not used to throwing to guys with such athletic ability,” said Cook, who is gearing up for his first season at American River. “It was definitely a good preview of what I’ll see in the fall.” Cook represented his former Falcons well in a game that was highlighted by defense early. “It was awesome,” Cook said. “We were predicted to be a big underdog, so that made it much sweeter.” One local standout, Del Oro graduate Hunter Pahl, had three tackles in the first half and finished with seven. “I’m definitely glad I played,” Pahl said. “It was a lot of fun playing with all these guys. We played really well together after just two weeks of practice.” Mike Makela, who rushed for more than 1,500 yards at Del Oro last fall, suited up for the North as a wide receiver — the position he’ll play at Sierra College. He caught three of Cook’s six passes for 35 yards. “I’ve played running back my whole life, so it was nice to get a preview of playing receiver,” Makela said. Foothill’s C.J. Woodberry stole the show Saturday. The Sierra College-bound running back scored twice and finished with 152 yards of his team’s 199 rushing yards on 26 carries. Woodberry ran 37 yards on the first play of North team’s fifth drive, setting up a 22-yard touchdown pass from Cook to Pioneer’s Stephen Peyton. The North doubled its 7-0 lead less than 20 seconds later. The South fumbled on the first play of the ensuing drive and Grant’s Sione Moala recovered the ball for the North on the 1-yard line, setting up a short dive for Woodberry. The North went up 21-0 less than two minutes later on Peyton Thompson’s 65-yard punt return. The South got on the scoreboard with 1:04 left in the first half on a 59-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Cary Grossart of Folsom to Asa Jackson of Christian Brothers. Golden Sierra graduate Ian Brown broke up a pass for the South late in the first quarter. Only two of the eight South players who carried the ball finished with positive yardage. Two South quarterbacks combined for 255 yards through the air.