High School football showcases come and go.
It's a tough sell to show off more than a couple of prep teams from different regions, because frankly, it's a local show. If it's not for a state, section or divisional championship, interest often wanes.
But Mark Soto has remained on point. In his lane. For a purpose.
The Honor Bowl
raises awareness for our country's military veterans. Those who have fought for freedom. Given up their youth. Family time. Career time. And in some cases, many things more precious: Health. Sanity. Limbs.
Video: Cathedral Catholic holds off SaguaroWatch highlights of the premier game from last week's Honor Bowl in San Diego.
And to keep that awareness alive, that honor clear and present, Soto has found convicted coaches and programs to the cause.
Ten years later, the Honor Bowl stands proud.
Last weekend in San Diego, three dynamic games featuring powers from California against the elite squads from other states shined at Cathedral Catholic.
Saturday, three games featuring some of the Bay Area's best take place at James Logan in Union City.
To all of it, Soto, the founder and promoter of the event, simply smiles and pounds his heart.
"I'm grateful and proud," he said. "I think we're the longest high school football showcase going. It's taken a lot of love and devoted people to pull this off. People love the cause. They love the spirit of the event. The love for America and patriotism is alive and well."
To put on the games, however, takes more than passion. It takes money for travel, lodging, fields and all the rest. The San Francisco 49ers are a presenting sponsor for the games and Soto said his goal is to get the remaining 31 NFL teams on board to expand games to every region of the country.
"The amount of sponsorship and resources to keep these events going is enormous," Soto said. "Frankly, if not for the support of the 49ers and the Lynch family, we probably wouldn't still be in existence."
They were alive and well last week in San Diego. "The games were off the charts," Soto said. "We had huge crowds, not only for the home team (Cathedral Catholic), but the entire event."
Notre Dame (SO) (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) 37, Desert Vista (Phoenix, Ariz.) 35:
Senior Anthony Prieto
, who had to be talked into coming back out for the team after sitting out as a junior, kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give Notre Dame the victory. Anthony Spearman
rushed for two touchdowns for the winners and Sean Guyton
caught a touchdown from Cooper Meek
. It helped offset a 159-yard rushing day from Parker Navarro
and five-catch, 101-yard, two-touchdown performance by Elijah Ervin
Saturday's games could feature equally entertaining results at James Logan. They are: Campolindo (Moraga) (2-0) vs. Amador Valley (Pleasanton) (2-0), noon:
In the opener of the Honor Bowl, both teams average 400 yards per game and feature superb quarterbacks in Amador Valley's Kannon Dote
(40-of-61, 312 yards, 3 TDs) and Grant Harper
(22-of-35, 390 yards, 7 TDs).
Liberty (Brentwood) (2-0) vs. #12 Clayton Valley Charter (Concord) (1-0), 7:30 p.m.:
Rematch of last year's North Coast Section semifinals, a 42-14 victory. Clayton Valley opened with a 21-7 home win over Turlock last week as Makhi Gervais
rushed 33 times for 229 yards and a touchdown. Liberty quarterback Jay Butterfield
led his team to a state Division 1-A championship last year. The 6-6, 206-pound senior is committed to Oregon.