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Fargas Goes Out With Low-Key Effort

Football: Notre Dame tailback carries only nine times for California in Shrine All-Star Classic.


NORWALK — California's backfield was jam-packed with talent Saturday in the 47th annual Shrine All-Star Football Classic, so it wasn't surprising that former Notre Dame High tailback Justin Fargas carried only nine times for 20 yards.

In addition, it came as no shock that Fargas downplayed his lack of opportunity. Humble and low-key as usual, he signed autographs and maintained an even emotional keel after California's 10-5 victory over Texas in front of 7,500 at Cerritos College.

"I understood going into the game that we had a lot of great backs and that I wasn't going to get every touch of the ball," Fargas said. "There's no selfishness on this team. I wanted to do the most I could with whatever I got."

What Fargas got was not what he or his fans hoped for. He carried four times for seven yards in the first half and five times for 13 yards in the second half. His longest run was six yards.

Fargas started and was used most often as a slotback, lining up behind and slightly wide of the tight end. On several plays, he started in motion and took an underneath handoff before burrowing his way up the the middle.

On one such play in the third quarter, Fargas was hit a split second after receiving the ball, yet somehow spun out of the tackle and drove forward for a six-yard gain.

California Coach Ed Burke said he tried to utilize Fargas more but was stymied by quarterback Jason Thomas' tendency to scramble on almost every passing play.

"Justin has great hands and we were trying, believe it or not, to get him the ball," Burke said, laughing and shaking his head. "But we made enough mistakes on those plays to write a book."

Fargas, who will attend Michigan and who begins preseason practice with the Wolverines on Aug. 1, said he took away only good memories of the Shrine game.

"I would have liked to have lined up in the [I-formation] instead of the slot but for us to have as many great players in the backfield as we had, I think the coaches did the best they could," he said.

"I felt good playing one more time in California and I wish I could have put it in the end zone, but it felt good to just be in the game."


Joey Cuppari, a recent Westlake graduate and the only other representative from the region, watched the game in street clothes and his jersey because he is recovering from an emergency appendectomy three weeks ago.

"I'm very disappointed," Cuppari said. "These guys are the best players in Texas and if I could have beaten them I would have known I could have beaten almost anyone."

Cuppari, a wide receiver, reports to Colorado State on Aug. 1 .


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