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Durango’s Julio Mora, Faith Lutheran’s Joe Portaro shine in all-star game

UNLV-commit Portaro throws first-quarter touchdown, named game’s MVP


Justin M. Bowen

Joe Portaro (right) and Don Pearson, both of Faith Lutheran, chat Saturday, June 4, 2011, just before the 40th West Charleston Lions Club Charity All-Star High School Football Game.

Lions Club All-Star High School Football Game

Don Pearson of Faith Lutheran falls into the end zone for a touchdown Saturday, June 4, 2011, during the 40th West Charleston Lions Club Charity All-Star High School Football Game. Launch slideshow »

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Durango High running back Julio Mora was back to his old tricks.

Despite a 5-foot-7, 170-pound frame, Mora rushed for 3,100 yards and 46 touchdowns the past two years to help Durango go from one of the city’s worst teams his sophomore year to qualifying for playoffs last fall during his senior campaign.

In Mora’s final high school game Saturday, he capped his prep career with an 7-yard touchdown run and 49 rushing yards to lead the Sunset Region to a 21-0 victory against the Sunrise in the 40th West Charleston Lions Club Charity All-Star High School Football Game. He was named the game’s Offensive Most Valuable Player.

“He’s an absolute stud. He’s a great football player,” said Gorman coach Tony Sanchez, who coached the Sunset team. “He needs to keep playing football. That kid is a good player.”

Mora’s touchdown run gave the Sunset a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter and their defense did the rest. The overwhelmed Sunrise only managed 23 passing yards and less than 100 yards of offense.

Sunrise quarterback Parker Riggin of Foothill completed just three of 13 passes with two interceptions. His backup, JaQuorrey Williams of Eldorado, was pressured in the backfield all night in rushing for negative yardage.

Mora didn’t have that problem. He’s stayed active in the six months since the season ended, preparing to play at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif., in the fall.

“I just wanted to play to win. I wanted to leave Vegas with a (win),” Mora said.

Mora wasn’t the Sunset’s only star.

Quarterback Joe Portaro of Faith Lutheran — a UNLV commit — completed his initial four passes, including a 7-yard scoring strike to Faith teammate Don Pearson (Navy) for the first touchdown of the game in being named the game’s Most Valuable Player. The two also hooked up for a reception of 29 yards earlier in the drive to get into scoring position.

Sunrise’s Teddy Efthemeou from Liberty was the Defense Most Valuable Player. He blocked a field goal and had an interception.

“I told the kids at the beginning of the week that it is a honor to be in the all-star game,” said Liberty coach Rich Muraco, who coached the Sunrise team. “The main mission was to go out, have fun and not get hurt. Obviously, because we are all competitors, we want to compete to win. Unfortunately, it is tough to put an offense together in a few days.”

Several top players — Gorman’s Jalen Grimble (Miami) and Evan Zeger (Washington), and Liberty’s Sam Tai (UCLA) — were advised by their college coaches to not participate. Tai, who enrolled in January and is therefore ineligible to play, was on the sidelines.

“It was a fun night,” Sanchez said. “They all are all-stars and they earned the right to play here. Let them go out, let the have fun, let them compete. It was about getting everybody in. With that said, I would like to see more of Division I players play in this game.”

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