Locals provide all of North’s points in all
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Vincent Colodny hauls in a touchdown pass in front of a South safety in last week’s all star football game.
Los Altos High’s Vincent Colodny didn’t check off everything on his to do list for last week’s 44th annual Charlie Wedemeyer High School All Star Football Game his North team wasn’t able to beat the South but the tight end did make a touchdown catch.
“That was exciting,” Colodny said of scoring the North’s lone TD in the showcase for the county’s top graduated seniors, which the South won 17 7 July 18 at Los Gatos High. “It was one of my goals. I wanted to win, too, but it was a lot of fun tonight no matter what. I had a good time.”
Colodny’s catch a 10 yard strike from Wilcox High quarterback David Hernandez came late in the first quarter with the North trailing 7 0.
“We call it ‘Stanford,'” Colodny said of the play, which capped a six play, 83 yard drive. “I just do a little pass blocking for, like, three seconds and then catch a little pop pass over the middle. I knew it was going to work, especially in the red zone.”
It wasn’t as easy as the University of Colorado at Boulder bound tight end made it sound, however. A South safety defending him tipped the pass, changing the ball’s trajectory before Colodny hauled it in.
“I was waiting for the safety to crash, and I thought he was going to hit me harder, so I was anticipating it,” the 6 foot 3, 240 pound Colodny said. “He barely tipped it and somehow I was able get a favorable bounce and came down with it.”
Mountain View High’s Ozzy Ortiz Verdi tacked on the extra point, tying the game with 3:13 remaining in the quarter.
The South quickly responded, needing only three plays and 70 seconds to drive 79 yards for the go ahead touchdown. Westmont High quarterback Cameron Rottler found Saratoga High’s Harrison Fong over the middle, and the receiver raced into the end zone for a 77 yard TD.
That proved to be the pivotal play of the game. No one scored in the second or third quarters, and the South sealed the win on Rottler’s 31 yard field goal with 4:22 left in the fourth.
While both teams played like all stars in the opening quarter the offenses combined for 239 yards and each defense made a possession changing play they didn’t look like them. They had to wear Los Gatos High junior varsity jerseys for the first half because their all star apparel didn’t arrive in time.
The teams changed at halftime, though Los Altos offensive lineman Gerardo Garduno still wasn’t easily recognizable. Garduno joined the North squad a week before the game, and the back of his jersey read “Waddell” the last name of the player he replaced.
That didn’t seem to bother Garduno; he was just happy to be there.
“I can’t even put it into words,” he said of the experience. “I’ve always wanted to be an all star and play in the game, and it happened. It was exciting.”
The left tackle played most of the offensive snaps, despite joining the team a week into practice.
“Since the beginning of my career, I’ve always been put in positions that you can’t really prepare for you’ve just got to do it, just got to roll with it,” Garduno said. “That’s what I did played football, the game that I love.”
It was likely the last organized football game of his career; Garduno is headed to UC Merced, which doesn’t have a team.
“This was like no other game I’ve played in,” he said. “(The result) didn’t turn out like I wanted it to, but it’s a game I’ll always remember.”
North teammate Una Kaufusi of Mountain View High echoed the sentiment.
“I’ll never forget this,” the defensive lineman said. “It was really fun better than I expected, to be honest. The competition was great.”
Kaufusi added that the highlight was playing alongside cousin Bryan Kanongataa of Independence High.
“Having my cousin behind me at middle linebacker that was great,” Kaufusi said. “We always talked about it as kids. After watching his older brother and my other cousins play together (in past all star games), we were like, ‘All right, we’re going to be the next ones to play together,’ and it just so happens that we got to.”
They also got to play against their cousin David Pahulu, a South defensive lineman from Leigh High.
“I did a little smack talking (to Pahulu) on the field,” Kaufusi said with a chuckle. “I was trying to get in his head, but it was all family love.”
Kaufusi intends to continue his football career at De Anza College, where he will once again play with Ortiz Verdi ## ## .
As he did at Mountain View, Ortiz Verdi played three positions in the all star game kicker, punter and defensive back. His most notable play of the night came late in the second quarter when he was sent out to punt from inside the North’s own 20. The snap sailed over his head and into the end zone, where Ortiz Verdi swiftly tracked it down and booted the ball nearly 50 yards.