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Duo ready to play with elite

Costa Mesa lineman Whitlock and CdM linebacker Alex Swigert will play for South in OC All-Star Football Game.

July 16, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Daily Pilot File…)

Three years ago, Travis Whitlock dreamed of today. He sat at Orange Coast College back then and watched a Costa Mesa High teammate play a football game in the summer.

Whitlock, like everyone else in the stands that night, was a fan.

Alex Swigert did not attend the game that evening. He finished his first season at Corona del Mar, looking for his shot to turn into a star.

Swigert eventually earned a chance to play a lot in his final two seasons. He just never thought he would stand out on the defensive side.

After four years, Whitlock and Swigert get to cap their high school careers on a high note. Tonight cannot get any better for them.

The recent graduates are the lone representatives from programs in the Newport-Mesa area chosen to play in tonight's 51st Brea Lions Orange County All-Star Game. The game kicks off at 7:15 at OCC.

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The game means a lot to Whitlock, a lineman, and Swigert, a linebacker. Each has played at LeBard Stadium before while with their respective high school teams.

Nothing compares to their new team, which is loaded with talent. Whitlock and Swigert are members of the South All-Stars and they are facing the North All-Stars.

Being on the same side for the first time is a little different for Swigert and Whitlock. They competed against each other in games the previous two seasons.

What is familiar to both is the venue. The stadium is a few miles from where they live.

"When you're playing at OCC, it's usually a big deal," Swigert said. "It is a big spectacle. You're under the lights and you have all the fans."

The players plan to have a strong contingent rooting for them during the game. Whitlock by far has the largest at 25, while Swigert expects 10.

Family members, teammates, friends and coaches do not plan to miss the game. During the two weeks leading up to tonight, Costa Mesa Coach Jeremy Osso showed up to the South practices at Fountain Valley High.

Osso liked what he saw from Whitlock, a 6-foot-2, 270-pound guard and defensive tackle.

"He looked good," Osso said. "It was never a doubt whether Travis could play with those guys. We thought we had guys in the past that could've made this game."

Whitlock is the first player from Costa Mesa to earn a spot in the OC All-Star game since 2007. Whitlock remembers the last player fondly, having seen him up close and personal as a freshman.

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