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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fakalata to play in Charlie Wedemeyer All Star Game

Sioeli Fakalata an incoming freshman at New Mexico State recently played in the Charlie Wedemeyer All Star Game in San Jose. Fakalata will compete with St Francis Teammate Matt Taufoou and John Eseroma (Prospect HS, Saratoga) on the North Roster against Joshua Taufalele (Independence HS, San Jose) of the South team among others.


Posted on Wed, Jul. 19, 2006

Charlie Wedemeyer all-star game
Lineman's persistence pays off


Mercury News

With a football scholarship to New Mexico State in hand, Joe Fakalata already has what most high school players want.

But the 6-foot-4, 325-pound St. Francis lineman wanted one more thing from his high school career: to play in the Charlie Wedemeyer all-star game.

After failing to be selected, Fakalata began a daily telephone campaign to North Coach Carlos Boles.

His persistence paid off.

When the whistle blows tonight at San Jose City College, Fakalata will be on the field in uniform.

``I wanted to play from the get-go,'' said Fakalata, an East Palo Alto resident. ``I've been watching the game the last few years and liked the atmosphere. That's why I called the coach non-stop.''

The game, which began in 1974, is played in honor of former Los Gatos Coach Charlie Wedemeyer, who has lived with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for nearly three decades. The South has beaten the North four consecutive times and leads the series 17-12, with two ties.

Led by Leland Coach Jason Tenner, the South will be quarterbacked by Branham's Duce Ferrante and Piedmont Hills' Michael Chou.

Other offensive stars include San Jose State-bound receiver Jalal Beauchman (Bellarmine College Prep) and running backs Shaun Souza (Pioneer), Jerid Ferranti (Oak Grove) and Dustin Muhn (Live Oak.)

Anchoring the defense will be A.J. Alvarez (Valley Christian), Mohamed Marah (Oak Grove), Matt Zuniga (Bellarmine) and Bryan North (Valley Christian).

The North, coached by Boles (Prospect), will be quarterbacked by Rich Scudellari of St. Francis and Danny Sullivan of Los Gatos. Sullivan, who passed for 2,435 yards and 24 touchdowns in leading the Wildcats to a Central Coast Section championship, is headed to Arizona State. Scudellari is going to Yale.

Other offensive stars for the North include receiver Chantz Staden (Westmont) and running backs Derome Fowler (Wilcox) and Emmanuel Sellu (Del Mar).

San Jose State-bound cornerback Jay Atkins (Homestead) leads a defense that also features A.J. Comeau (Los Gatos), Matt Taufoou (St. Francis) and Carlos Alonso (Los Gatos).

In the Wedemeyer game, each school is allowed to nominate three players for roster consideration. Fakalata was left off by St. Francis in favor of Scudellari, Taufoou and DB/RB Ryan Perry, all first-team West Catholic Athletic League selections.

It's not the first time that Fakalata has been overlooked. New Mexico State was one of a few schools to offer a scholarship, a slight due partly to a broken leg that forced Fakalata to miss a preseason showcase camp for high school seniors.

But Fakalata did a solid job of protecting Scudellari, and the quarterback recently repaid the favor.

``I gave him Coach Boles' number,'' Scudellari said.

Fakalata started calling -- and didn't stop. When a roster spot came open, Boles knew whom to call.

Scudellari wasn't surprised. ``It's kind of tough to say no to a guy who is 6-foot-4 and over 300 pounds,'' he said.


Contact Dennis Knight at dknight@mercurynews.com.

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