Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | 1:24 p.m.
This year’s game will not have as much star appeal.
The 38th annual Lions Club all-star high school football game, which pits the top seniors from the Sunrise Region against the Sunset Region at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Las Vegas High, will be missing some of valley’s marquee performers from the past fall.
Five who will be in Division I programs next year have opted to not participate — most on orders from their college coaches.
Keenan Graham (UCLA) and Michael Wadsworth (Hawaii) of Silverado, Foothill’s Jake Broyles (Boise State) and Valley’s Kerwynn Williams (Utah State) will not suit up for the Sunrise team. USC-bound Torin Harris of Palo Verde, one of the city’s top players, is out for the Sunset.
But Bishop Gorman defensive end Justin Chaisson (Oklahoma), Cheyenne linebacker Damien Proby (Northwestern) and Palo Verde linebacker Liloa Nobriga (Colorado) highlight a list of eight who received Division I scholarships and will play for the Sunset.
The Sunrise will be led by a handful of preferred walk-ons to Division I schools — like Del Sol fullback Jon Kirschbaum (UNLV) and Liberty linebacker Sage Nua (Hawaii) — but lacks the top-tier talent of the Sunset.
“(The Sunset) is loaded. They will be tough to beat,” said Chris Faircloth, the coach of Las Vegas High who is coaching the Sunrise team.
The game is used by some to showcase their skills for the half-dozen junior college coaches expected to attend. For others, it’s a last hurrah to their playing days.
“You want to make sure everyone has fun,” said Sunset coach Darwin Rost of Palo Verde. “It’s not about me out-scheming Faircloth. You want to make sure everyone gets to play and showcase their talent.”
Proceeds from the game go to the burn unit at UMC, which is sponsored by the Lions Club. The four captains from each team will tour the unit Thursday.
Besides a week of practices — where coaches implement about four running and passing plays — there is also banquet Friday night at Arizona Charlie’s West.
And, like year’s past, the teams will sport purple and yellow uniforms, the colors of the Lions Club.
“This is always a fun week,” Faircloth said. “I like being around the kids every year.”
Ray Brewer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 990-2662.