May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Western Coach Dan Davidson cherished leading North in all-star football game

Western’s Dan Davidson, who led the North, was joined by three of his players (from left) Isiah Del Toro, Cassius Savage and Caine Savage after Saturday’s game. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Although his North squad came up short in the 61st annual North-South All-Star Classic, Western High football coach Dan Davidson had great memories of coaching the team.

“It was an honor to be part of this game,” Davidson said.

The South won its sixth in a row, defeating the North 27-13 in front of an estimated 5,500 fans at Orange Coast College Saturday.

Davidson said he was happy for his team’s MVP Kristopher Koontz (La Habra) and praised the efforts of quarterbacks Cade McConnell of Los Alamitos and Luke Duxbury of Sunny Hills.

“Cade did a really good job, Isaiah Blevins (Pacifica) ran the ball well and Arthur Shaw from Fullerton had a great run…there was a tough holding call that brought that one back,” Davidson said. “Defensively, Isaac Hurtado (Cypress) played great at linebacker and I thought our D-Line held them tough especially against that zone run. I think Nate Lopez from Katella came in and became a sparkplug.

“And Karrington Dennis (Servite) on defense, they stopped throwing the ball toward his side. We didn’t give up much in the air, but we came up a little short on the scoreboard.”

Davidson said he will always remember coaching the game for the first time.

“It was a dream for our staff,” he said. “We talked about it years ago and we would love to coach in this game, and we always came to it, and I also liked how it was changed to January. Honored for Western to be able to host it and to be a part of something like this is pretty special and I’m going to remember it forever.”

Davidson got to coach four of his players: wide receiver Isiah Del Toro, defensive backs Caine Savage and Cassius Savage and defensive end Danny Walters. Caine Savage was held out with a hamstring injury.

All four players contributed to the Pioneers’ success.

“It’s been a really good two year run, winning CIF (in 2018), coaching the 605 (all-star) game and then had a great season this year going 9-2, we didn’t make the run in the playoffs we wanted to, but then coaching the all-star game, it has been a busy two years for us at Western and we’re really proud of it and we showed that the guys at Western can really play and do some big things,” Davidson said.

“It was tough not having Caine Savage tonight, his hamstring was a little tight. He goes to Utah next week so we decided to hold him out. I think he would have made some plays for us, especially when we got in that red zone.”

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-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com