The last high school hurrah for some pretty good football players comes tonight in Rabobank Arena for Arena Bowl XII.
The Californian Player of the Year, Ridgeview's Kamari Cotton-Moya, and Defensive Player of the Year, Frontier's Augie Alcantar, lead the Gold team against the Black team and its stars, Offensive Player of the Year Preston Hodges (Independence) and college football-bound stars Cole Mazza (Liberty) and Andrew Daughtery (Centennial).
It's the nation's only indoor high school All-Star game, it's a spectacle and it all starts at 7 p.m. -- though if you don't get in your seat before then, you'll miss an extravagant pregame show that this year features a fog machine, motorcycles and the always-popular personalized player introductions.
Tickets ($12) are available at the Rabobank Box Office.
In the arena game, two of Kern County's biggest stars could be Hodges and Cotton-Moya, an Iowa State signee. Both excelled as dual-threat quarterbacks during the high school season, but both are likely to play other positions tonight, with Taft's Vaughn Richardson (Black team) and Garces' Cruise Adams (Gold team) taking over under center.
Eric Mahanke, a strength coach at Terrio Therapy and a former Fresno State and professional arena football wide receiver, will coach the Black team for the third straight year. He led the Black to a 47-41 win in 2011 and a 39-27 win last year.
Mahanke will have plenty of celebrity help on the sidelines. New York Giants quarterback David Carr, along with father Roger and brother Darren, is listed as an assistant coach, as are Ryan Clanton, an Oregon offensive lineman, and Don Kessler, father to former Centennial star and USC quarterback Cody Kessler.
For the Gold, longtime local assistant coach Rick Van Horne will serve as head coach. He will have help from Ridgeview coach Dennis Manning and Bakersfield Christian coach Jerald Pierucci.