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Crossroads for Valhalla's Romano

07/09/2013, 3:02pm PDT
By John Maffei

Former Norseman ponders baseball signing decision while preparing for final football game.

Ramsey Romano threw for 3,390 yards and 30 touchdowns for Valhalla last season.

Friday could be a day of firsts and lasts for Ramsey Romano.

The former Valhalla High football and baseball standout will start at quarterback for the South squad in the 23rd annual Alex Spanos All-Star Football Classic at San Diego Mesa College.

It figures to be the last football game of his career.

Friday is also the deadline for baseball players taken in the June draft to sign their first professional contract with a major league organization.

A 35th-round pick of the Chicago Cubs, Romano — a shortstop who has a scholarship to play baseball at Michigan — is still talking to the Cubs as the clock ticks toward the deadline.

“It was a hard choice between football and baseball because I love them both,” said the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Romano. “I didn’t have many options in football because I didn’t start as a junior, so the recruiters didn’t know me.

“The Michigan baseball coaches have Southern California roots. They know San Diego is a talent hot spot.”

Big Ten schools Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Iowa and Minnesota have San Diego-area players.

“I wanted a place with great school spirit, where they care about athletics,” Romano said. “So Michigan was a perfect fit.”

A first-team All-San Diego Section pick in football, Romano completed 223 of 375 passes for 3,390 yards and 30 touchdowns for the Norsemen.

He hit .356 with a pair of homers, seven doubles and 15 RBIs in baseball. It was his fluid action in the field and strong arm that appealed to the Cubs.

“Teams talked about drafting me in the 10th round where the bonus money is guaranteed,” Romano said. “But they weren’t sure, I wasn’t sure, I’d sign. So the Cubs took a shot late, and we’re still talking. The major leagues is where I want to get to. It’s just a matter of what direction I take.”

Romano grew up around sports. His mother, Kim, played volleyball and softball. His father, Gary, was a baseball player.

“I didn’t own a video game as a kid,” Romano said. “In my family, we played games.”

Madison’s Rick Jackson, head coach of the South team, said Romano has learned his lessons well.

“I’ve never seen the guy play baseball, but he must be awfully good if he’s better at that than he is at football,” Jackson said. “He has a great arm, a great feel for the game of football. I’m happy he’s on our side for this game.”

Figuring this will be his last football game, Romano is happy to have receivers like Sergio Bailey (Olympian), Kevin Mills (Valhalla), Kwahmell Archer (Serra), Lee Walker (Madison) and Richard Walker (Chula Vista) on his side.

“I’m really looking forward to this,” Romano said. “Our offense is kind of a spread, similar to what we run at Valhalla. We have great players, players who can make plays.

“I lost my last high school game (31-28 to Oceanside in the section Division II semifinals). That left a bad taste.

“I’ll really miss the intensity of football, grinding it out with a team, competing. I guarantee we’ll be ready to play.

“This is a high-quality game, one last chance to do something I’ve loved since I was young.”

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