JAMES SCHWEITZER 0000-00-00 00:00:00
More than 6,000 people were in the stands on a breezy summer evening along the Pacific Ocean to watch the exciting 50th Orange County North-South High School All-Star Charity Football Classic. Held at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, fans saw an exciting offensive show in which the South Rebels easily rolled over the North Yankees, 38-21. The game was carried nationally on ESPNU and aired several times. Sponsored by the 87-year-old Lions Club of Brea, California, the 2009 game raised $45,000. The proceeds will be distributed among several designated charities including several for children. In the five decades since Brea Lions started sponsoring the all-star game, they’ve been able to distribute approximately $2.3 million to organizations such as Services for the Blind, Blind Children’s Learning Center, Little School of Touch and Sound, Orange County Special Olympics and Help for Brain Injured Children. The game was originally the idea of Brea Lion Dick Tucker back in the late 1950s, a coaching legend at Brea Olinda High School. Lions were searching for a signature fundraising event and Tucker suggested a high school all-star football game (to compete with the already established California Shrine Game), pitting the north schools against those in the south part of the county to raise funds for local youth charities as well as honoring the finest graduating seniors each year. The 50th anniversary game honored some of the players from that first 1959 game in a pre-game ceremony. Lions also supplied a special 50th commemorative patch for all the players and coaches, an expanded and special game program and a unique line of caps and T-shirts. Fans were also treated to an intriguing coaching match-up: John Barnes of Los Alamitos High School and the winningest football coach in Orange County history, competed with his son, Brian of Tesoro High School, at 27 already one of the top head coaches in Southern California. The game marked the third time that the elder Barnes had coached the North squad. For his son, it brought back fond memories of serving as the ball boy for his dad in the 1989 game and playing in the game when he came of age in 1997.
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