With the football season long over for Nevada Union and the California State Bowls concluding last week, the prep football season is almost over. But there is still one present left under the football tree to be unwrapped.
The 56th Optimist All-Star Classic kicks off at noon Saturday at Del Oro High School and will feature three of Nevada Union’s best.
For Kyle Cota, Austin Marks and Hank Humphers, there will be one more chance to lace ’em up and battle it out on the gridiron.
Nevada Union head coach Dave Humphers said that all three Miner representatives are very deserving of the honor and that having three players on the all-star team speaks volumes about the NU football program.
“Out of all the schools in Northern California, for us to have three is a pretty good showing,” he said.
The Optimist game pits the best the Sac-Joaquin Section has to offer against each other with the North All-Stars taking on the South All-Stars.
The Miners will be competing for the North squad and will be coached by Del Oro’s Casey Taylor and Grant’s Mike Alberghini, who hand-picked the team.
Cota is one of three quarterbacks on the North team and will share time with Del Oro’s Zach LaBar and Woodcreek’s Stephen Nogosek.
Cota, who threw for 2,518 yards and 21 touchdowns this season on his way to earning All-Sierra Foothill League first-team honors, said he is excited to play with such a talented lineup.
“Our line is huge, and our wide receivers are stacked,” he said.
Cota will have wide receivers Trayvon Henderson from Grant, Dominic Giampaoli out of Rocklin and Tyler Winston from Antelope as passing options along with Marks at tight end.
Marks, who also played exceptional defense for the Miners (59 tackles), is the North’s only tight end.
“I’m really excited,” Marks said. “When football ended, I was bummed … I feel blessed to get this opportunity.”
Marks caught 25 balls for 395 yards and four touchdowns this season.
Hank Humphers is the only Miner on the defensive side and will play a rover-type linebacker, he said.
The senior played ironman football for the Miners this season, taking on linebacker and running back duties. For the season, Hank Humphers had 61 tackles, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and a sack. Hank Humphers also accounted for 432 rushing yards, 306 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns.
“It’s fun getting out there one more time,” Hank Humphers said. “On our team, everybody’s good. There is a lot of talent at every position.”
For all three Miners, who haven’t yet decided where they will play college ball, it’s one last chance to impress college scouts who will be in attendance.
Marks, who has entertained the idea of playing for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Sacramento State or Humboldt State, said he is happy to get one more shot to show scouts what he brings to the table.
“I’m hoping to impress and catch the eye of other colleges,” Marks said. “I’m really happy to get this opportunity.”
Nevada Union linebacker Tanner Vallejo and wide receiver Ian Davis also received invitations but declined to participate.
To contact Sports Writer, Walter Ford call (530) 477-4232 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.