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History of the Game

The annual Lions All-Star Football Game has progressed for more than four decades from an idea of humble origin and uncertain future to an unqualified success.

Willows Lion Wayne Strohl came to the Willows Lions Club in 1977 with a dream. He asked the Willows Lions if they would or could sponsor an All-Star Football game for graduating high school seniors. This idea was born due to Lion Wayne playing in the Sacramento Soroptimist Club All-Star Football Game, which featured players from Sacramento area schools against schools north of Sacramento. The year Wayne played was the last time schools north of Sacramento were invited to play in the Soroptimist game due to population growth of the Sacramento area. After playing in that game, attending college and becoming a football coach himself, Lion Wayne felt it would be advantageous to have a District All-Star Football game for our outstanding athletes. The Willows Lions Club thought is was an exceptionally great idea, but thought it should be a Lions District project rather than a Club project, where more people could be involved. Lion Wayne and other members of the Willows Lions Club took the idea to a District Cabinet Meeting and presented it to the Cabinet members. It was accepted overwhelmingly, thereby creating the birth of District 4-C-1’s All-Star Football Game.

Lions Past District Governor, Max Lee, of the Chico Breakfast Lions Club was appointed the initial Game Director by the enthusiastic, hard-working football committee, which consisted of many Lion Past District Governors, other dedicated Lions and high school coaches.

Northeastern California’s finest prep football talent has competed in the Lions All-Star Football games held in such venues at Chico State University, Shasta College, Harrison Stadium in Oroville, and Thompson Field in Redding. Wherever this great game has been played there are other winners besides those cited on the scoreboard. Besides the players and coaches, the recipients of any funds raised by this worthwhile project are winners. They include: site conservation programs, City of Hope Cancer Research, Humanitarian Foundation (fires, floods, medical assistance, etc.), Health Association, Camp McCumber, Medical Alert, drug abuse prevention and other philanthropic endeavors in the Lions crusade of community service.

This article is a conglomerate of information from various Lions including Wayne Strohl, PDG Max Lee and PDG Joe Hinton.


Notable Players who have played in the Lions All-Star Game

High School Where played
Jason Seahorn Mt. Shasta NFL
Ricky Ray Shasta CFL/NFL
Aaron Rodgers Pleasant Valley NFL / MVP Super Bowl 45 Green Bay Packers
Jordan Rodgers (Younger Brother of Aaron) Pleasant Valley NFL/Jacksonville Jaguars
Brett Ratliff Chico NFL
Ryan O'Callaghan Enterprise NFL
Jeff Maehl Paradise Oregon Ducks/NFL
Matt Nichols West Valley CFL/NFL
Gale Gilbert Red Bluff NFL
Cole McKenzie As NFL/Jacksonville Jaguars
Russ Warnick Willows UCLA
Tim Hughes Gridley Northwestern
Garrett Cross Chico Cal
Dan Hawkins Big Valley University of California, Davis coach
Chris Peterson Yuba City University of Washington, coach
Joe Hughes Gridley Wyoming
Ashton Morgan Pleasant Valley Fresno State
Syrus Tuitek Pleasant Valley UNLV
Kyle Linquist Pleasant Valley Fresno State
Rigo Sanchez Hamilton City NFL/Indianapolis Colts
Aldrick Rosa Orland NFL/NY Giants
Tom Fletcher   NFL/Green Bay Packers

We know there are many more notable players than we have listed above. If you know of someone who distinguished themselves in college or professional football following their appearance in the Lions All Star Game Norcal, please email: Ray Odom @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with the details, and we will add their name to this distinguished list.


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