County All-Star Football Classic canceled

The Santa Barbara County All-Star Football Classic, slated for July 22 at La Playa Stadium, has been canceled on account the game’s sponsor couldn’t find anyone willing to coach the teams.

The North vs. South game features many of the top graduated senior football players in the county. This year would have been the 44th edition of the classic.

Game chairman Bill Bailey of the Santa Barbara Suburban Kiwanis Club said the organization was unable to secure coaches from the county’s 15 football-playing high schools in a timely manner to prepare for the game.

“Our plan now is to get together with the local athletic directors and see how we can go about doing this better,’ Bailey told the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Bailey noted the CIF “Dead Period” played a factor in the coaches’ reluctance to work the game. Under CIF rules, all high school sports teams must observe a 21-day period in which there can be no contact between coaches and athletes. The only exception is coaches can supervise weightlifting. Many schools use their 21-day dead period during July, and their coaches take some time off.

This is the first time the game has not been held since 1970, but there have been challenges to keep it going in recent years. The game was nearly canceled in 2006 because of coaching issues until a pair of youth football coaches volunteered to run the South squad.

North County football players had the opportunity to play in an all-star game last month. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsored a game between Northern Santa Barbara County all-stars against a team from San Luis Obispo County.