Prep football: Former Rancho Bernardo High stars nearly pull out victory for North in Spanos Classic
By Michael Bower
For former Rancho Bernardo High stars Trent Sessions and Jake Arnell, the 22nd annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic was a chance to connect as quarterback and receiver a few final times.
The duo did that, hooking up twice for nine yards throughout the South’s 14-10 victory over the North Friday night in front of an energized crowd at Mesa College.
But with both being as competitive as they are – even after an exhibition game — the only thing on their minds was the inches they came within of winning the game for the North in the final minute.
“It is an honor to be asked to play in this game and I was lucky enough to be in a position to win it,” said Sessions, who threw for nearly 2,000 yards last season for the Broncos. “But I missed Jake at the end.”
Sessions dropped back at the South’s 27-yard line and pump-faked to the right. Arnell ran an out-and-up pattern and the defender bit on the pump fake, leaving Arnell open as he streaked to the end zone. Sessions then let it fly.
“At first, I thought I overshot him out of bounds,” he said. “But knowing Jacob, he is an acrobat. He will catch anything thrown in the area code.”
Arnell was nearing the front-corner of the end zone. Once he got there, he dove and the ball hit off his fingertips and fell to the ground. Arnell, who made over 75 catches last season, will tell you he should have hauled it in.
“The ball hit my hands,” he said shaking his head. “I should have caught it.”
The play was tough on both ends, especially considering the two have not played football for eight months and only had two weeks to prepare for the all-star classic.
But that is what’s great about the game; it is all about having fun and hoping to be part of the excitement one last time. And that is something both Arnell and Sessions got the chance to do.
“It was great being out here and playing with everyone,” Sessions said. “I am really glad that I did it. It was a lot of fun.”
Arnell was thrilled about the opportunity, too.
“It was fun,” he said. “I am happy that I played in this game.”
The classic ended with smiles all around, as many players likely suited up for the final time. Sessions, who completed 13 of 20 passes for 79 yards in the contest, will be attending the University of Colorado in the fall. He said he is unsure whether or not he will try to walk-on the football team.
“That’s still to be determined,” he said.
Arnell, who was also a star basketball player at Rancho Bernardo, will continue his football career at Santa Barbara City College.
Westview linebacker Jason Snyder was named the MVP of the North. The North scored its only touchdown of the game when Westview’s Eric Beagle threw a 20-yard strike to Sam Browning (Escondido) in the second quarter.
Beagle and Sessions switched off at quarterback every two offensive series of the game for the North, while Arnell was rotating in and out with several other receivers.
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