One more for the road

Published 11:48 pm Thursday, December 11, 2008

The AISA All-Star game on Dec. 4 meant the last time participating in an organized football game for most of the 88 players.

Several area players took advantage of their last hurrah.

Morgan’s Heath Harrelson and Brandon Keel and Meadowview Christian’s Randal Hamilton and J.R. Lowe represented Selma on the West All-Star team. Their last prep football game ended in a 43-25 loss to the East All-Stars.

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But they are all glad they participated.

“If you get the chance, don’t pass it up,” said Harrelson. “If you get the chance to be an all-star, definitely do not say you don’t want to go. It’s the chance of a lifetime.”

Wilcox Academy’s Clay Watson started at outside linebacker for the West All-Stars. He broke his thumb two weeks earlier, but put the surgery off until Thursday so he could play. For Watson, a member of a 2-9 team, the all-star game was his postseason.

“I had a lot to prove to myself,” said Watson. “It’s just cool to see what you can do against everyone else’s best. It was the most fun I’ve ever had playing football.”

Hamilton approached the game in the same fashion. After reaching the Class AA state title game in 2007, the Trojans finished 5-5 this year and did not reach the playoffs.

“When we got on the field, we got a chance to get back on some people,” said Hamilton. “We were kind of upset because we didn’t make the playoffs.”

Another selling point for the players was the chance to play with the same players they competed against during the season.

“You really don’t like them, but when they’re on your side, you start talking to them,” said Harrelson.

Lowe also enjoyed the opportunity to meet and socialize with players from opposing schools.

“It was a very good experience. I wouldn’t go back and redo everything,” said Lowe. “I got to meet a lot of people from a lot of different schools.”

Though the game was special for the players — particularly with scouts from Troy, Huntington College and Faulkner University in the stands — it was also memorable for coaches.

Lowndes coach Art Sullivan got to coach James Hagood and Hunter Shifferd one more time. The Rebel trio was a part of the East team.

“It’s sort of a sentimental thing. You’re glad you got to coach them one more time,” said Sullivan. “It’s just gratifying to have them one more time and let them play with the boys they played against.”