Mount Shasta High School football is playing a prominent role in the 40th Annual Lions All-Star Football Games, scheduled for the evening of Saturday, June 17, at Harrison Stadium in Oroville.
Mount Shasta head coach Tony Pavlic was chosen by his peers in the section to be the head coach for the North in the Lions 11-Man game, which is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The South head coach is former Mount Shasta player and 1989 MSHS graduate Mark Cooley, whose Pleasant Valley High School team won a state championship in 2016.
Three Mount Shasta assistant coaches are working with Pavlic, and three seniors from the Bears’ 2016 Shasta Cascade League championship team are on the North 11-Man roster.
Former Bears on the North team are SCL Defensive Player of the Year Cole Skinner, SCL Offensive Player of the Year Thairen Sivongsa, and lineman Bodie Kindley, who is listed on the roster at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, making him one of five North linemen weighing in at between 280 and 320 pounds.
Pavlic’s assistant coaches include returning Mount Shasta assistant coach Todd Mack, who was a Lions All-Star player after his senior season as a Bear.
Also assisting Pavlic are returning line coach Erik EJ Johnson; new Bears offensive coordinator John Dutton, a former College of the Siskiyous assistant coach and former quarterback in the Arena Football League; and Etna High School head coach Wade Dickinson, whose son Payton is playing for the North.
The North players and coaches were scheduled to start their practices Monday, June 12, at Shasta College in Redding.
Pavlic said the 11-Man North roster was whittled to 28 players and a few alternates from an initial list of 64 nominated players. None of the players dropped out, but two are unable to play because of injuries, Pavlic said.
“We’re fired up,” Pavlic said. “To me it’s like a college freshman team.”
Pavlic was chosen to coach the all star team after his first full season as head coach at Mount Shasta, a season that featured the school’s first league football championship in 10 years.
Cooley, who played under both Dennis Lorenzetti and Joe Blevins during his four years at Mount Shasta High, was chosen as the Lions South head coach after his Pleasant Valley team won the Division 4-A State Championship last December with a 50-49 overtime victory over St. Anthony of Long Beach in Long Beach.
Cooley was honored last month as the Chico Community Sportsperson of the Year during the 45th annual Chico Sports Hall of Fame and Senior Athletes Banquet.
Todd Mack, who was a couple years ahead of Cooley at Mount Shasta High, said he’s looking forward to the week and the game and talking to Cooley for the first time in several years.
Pavlic described the North roster as “a diverse group,” most of whom are going on to continue playing football in college. “What an honor,” he said of being chosen to coach the All Star game.
He said that honor comes with some pressure, too, as the North goes into the 40th Annual Lions 11-Man game having won it eight years in a row. A few more white hairs aside, Pavlic said, “We’re going to have a blast.”
Along with practices, there’s a media day planned for this week, a trip to Waterworks Park, a dodgeball game, and a talent show. They’ll also visit the children’s ward at Mercy Hospital in Redding.
Pavlic said the practices will be serious, but the members of the team know how to play the game and his plan is “to let them be playmakers.”