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U-Prep’s Trueblood tabbed as Lions All-Star football coach, former Shasta High’s Gingery heads South team

U-Prep head football coach Darren Trueblood was selected to be the Lions All-Star Football Game head coach for the North squad in the 43rd annual game on June 20, 2020. (FILE -- Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)

U-Prep head football coach Darren Trueblood is no stranger to the North State’s “Summer Classic.”

A two-time coach for the North when he was the headman at Enterprise High, Trueblood got the call for a third time to coach in the annual Lions All-Star Football Game, a fundraiser for the Children’s Diabetic Camp at Camp McCumber.

This year, though, Trueblood and his staff enter the all-star festivities sporting blue and silver instead of black and gold.

“We are honored to once again work with the Lions Club,” said Trueblood, who guided the Panthers to an 8-3 overall mark in 2019. “They are tireless in the work they do in our community, especially Camp McCumber. The game is special for North State football and a great experience and honor for the young men who are chosen to play and represent their schools and communities one last time.”

The 43rd edition of the “Summer Classic” is June 20 at Shasta College with the 8-man kick off at 5 p.m. and the 11-man game starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online (more info coming) or from players.

To be eligible to coach in the game, a coach must have reached the Northern or Sac-Joaquin sections playoffs. Each coach will get to select 28 players from a nomination list, which will be announced at a Player Selection Banquet on March 28 at Butte College. Only graduating seniors are allowed to play.

Trueblood guided the North to a 26-10 win in 2010 and a 32-7 win in 2013, the latter of which his son Zack Trueblood — now on U-Prep’s coaching staff — won the Ray Francis MVP Award in in the 2013 game. It’s the first time U-Prep has been selected to coach in the all-star game.

Opposing Trueblood is South head coach Aaron Gingery of Yuba City and formerly of Shasta High (2001-14). Gingery guided the Honkers to a 7-5 mark last season, reaching the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs as the No. 10 seed. Yuba upset No. 7 Christian Brothers 54-19 before losing to No. 2 Placer 31-28 in the quarterfinals. He compiled an 80-69 record in his time at Shasta before being let go during the 2014 season.

Trueblood and Gingery were familiar foes at their former programs — the two largest enrollment schools in Shasta County — facing off at least once every year in River Bowl. Trueblood was 6-5 against Gingery in River Bowls and Trueblood won their only playoff matchup in 2004.

They haven’t faced each other since 2013 when Enterprise won River Bowl 50-13.

“It’s great to see Aaron back in the North Section again,” Trueblood said. “We’ve had some battles in the past and he always does a great job with schemes. I’m looking forward to seeing him again.”

Trueblood went 95-45 at Enterprise and is 14-8 at U-Prep to be 109-53 overall as a head coach.

For the 8-man game scheduled to kick off the festivities on June 20, Redding Christian coach Gerald Piper will guide the North while Chester’s TJ Reagan will lead the South. Piper and the Lions were 10-2 last fall with the only two losses to Chester in the first game of the year and in the 8-man championship. Redding Christian won the 8-man North League title while Chester won the South.

Redding Christian head coach Gerald Piper (left) goes over a play during summer 2018 workouts. Piper will coach the 8-man North team in the Lions All-Star Football Game on June 20. (FILE — T.J. Holmes/Shasta County Sports)

Piper led the North to a 28-6 win in the 2014 8-man game, the 3rd annual 8-man edition. Piper is 57-14 in his six years as the head coach of Redding Christian — all in 8-man.

“I feel it is an honor to be asked to coach the all-star game,” Piper said. “The Lions All-Star Game has been around for a long time and it’s cool to be a small part of some of its history. Being selected also means our team had a successful season and that’s always a great thing for our players and school. I look forward to coaching players from other schools that we have competed against for four years. It’s always been a fun week.”

Chester, which dropped down to 8-man following the 2018 season where the Volcanoes fell to Fall River in the D-V (11-man) section final, went 13-0 and in Reagan’s first year at the helm.

T.J. is a national-award winning journalist passionate about local news and telling the story no one else knows about. He’s roamed sidelines, baselines and bleachers in the North State since 2010 and is a content producer from sunup to sundown. Sports are a hobby he shares with his wife Tracy where they’ve spent many dates around a field or court of some sort.

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