Team West comes out on top at 2023 Desert Elite Showcase

Talialaina Letoi

The best of the best in the Coachella Valley were out at Palm Desert High School for the Desert Elite Showcase. It meant one last dance for local high school seniors to compete in a West vs. East Showdown. Many players that usually compete against one another now have the chance to play as teammates. But the talent was clear on both sidelines.

The West jumped out in front behind Head Coach Pat Blackburn and continued to hold the lead the entire game. The final score 27-13.

“I think the greatest thing about this game is bringing seven schools together to play as a team,” says Coach Blackburn. “And doing that in five days is remarkable.”

Dawson Johnson was named MVP after the victory and called the week leading up to the game ‘amazing.’

“Just an opportunity to play football one more time. A week of practice, the bond that I made with these guys,” says Johnson. “The bond that I made with these guys, I mean it feels like we’re best friends now and I think that’s why we came out on top. Just to play in front of my home fans on my home turf one more time, it doesn’t really get much better than that.”

F0r many celebrating and rocking their new rings, it was a bitter sweet moment.

“I got no words like, this is really the last one. It was so special,” says Palm Springs’ Nick Martinez.

But he and other players have already expressed they hope this is the start of a new beginning right here in the Valley for the generations to come.

“It’s been really fun getting the diversity of every team all week, I have love for all my coaches and love the whole West side,” says Martinez. “This is an mazing event, I hope they do this for many years to come.”

“It’s such a great idea. I love how they switched it from DEL vs. DVL to West and East, it just made it more competitive and guys butt heads more,” says Johnson. “And it was like a real game it wasn’t a pro bowl game, it was a real football game.”

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