by Jess Gonzalez,
January 13, 2024 – It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s good to savor the sweet taste it leaves in one’s mouth and the feeling of “Oh, yes we can!”
It’s the feeling of a Fresno or valley area team getting the best of a Los Angeles area team on an athletic field.
That happened Saturday at Fresno’s Sunnyside High School Stadium when the Central Valley Army All Stars defeated the Los Angeles Army All Stars in the Best of The West All Star Game.
The final score favored the local team by 28-14. But the game was not that close.
Quick scoring first drive
After impressive opening ceremonies, the CVA team opened the game with a 5 play 75 yards scoring drive to take an early 7-0 lead.
But, after the CVA defense stopped LA cold—even colder than the cold wind blowing on the field—the CVA coughed up the football.
A lumbering L.A. linebacker picked up a fumble and somehow made it from mid-field to the endzone before he could be stopped.
The game was tied 7-7. That’s the way the first quarter ended. At that point it appeared the crowd was in for a tight game.
However, with a little over 5 minutes left in the second quarter, Quarterback Daniel Gonzalez, formerly of Mission Oak in Tulare, escaped an apparent sack and scrambled the distance to the score.
The home based CVA team went into the locker room at halftime with a 14-7 lead.
Neither team could get anything going in the third quarter. But that changed in the fourth quarter.
After one minute of play, CVA QB Donavan Urbina and his running back executed a flea flicker in heavy traffic with Urbina’s pass finding a receiver 25 yards down field for another CVA touchdown. CVA took a 21-7 lead.
But, while the LA offense was being contained by the stingy CVA defense, the CVA offense continued giving LA opportunities to stay in the game.
The valley team lost another fumble. And, similarly to the first fumble, it was picked up run in for a touchdown.
With 5:43 to go in the game LA, with a spurting offense, trailed by only 7 points, 21-14.
Putting the game away
Yet, that was as close as the southerners would get. After a long drive, Urbina made a couple of slick cuts and ran the ball in for the score.
From the rival’s 7-yard line Urbina made a couple of slick cuts and ran the ball in for the score. The valley team upped its lead to 28-14.
With :53 seconds left in the game, the CVA lead seemed safe. Yet, LA was not giving up. They move quickly into CVA territory.
Then, defending against a “Hail Mary” pass, the CVA defense rose to the occasion with an interception at the 10-yard line. The game was in the books.
The game that was
Even in rainy and cold windy weather in the high 40s, the crowd in attendance filled the home team grandstand.
The game provided plenty of hard hitting and exciting plays to keep everyone entertained throughout its three-hour duration.
The winning CVA team was coached be ex Pittsburg Steelers player Rob Golden. The LA team was coached by Dwayne Wright formerly of the Buffalo Bills.
The game was organized and sponsored by the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.