Area gridders to play in 8-man all-star games
By BRETT MARSHALL
Five football players from three different high schools in The Telegram area will compete on June 9 in the 2012 Kansas 8-Man All-Star football games in Beloit.
There will be two games, one pitting players from 8-man Division I schools and the second from Division II schools.
South Gray's 2011 state runner-up team will be represented by graduated seniors Coulter Croft and Joe Carter, while Rebels coach Jeff Blattner will serve as one of the assistants for the West squad.
Croft, a first-team Telegram All-Area selection in 2011, is a 5-9, 170-pound running back, while Joe Carter, a second-team all-area pick, is a 6-0, 215-pound offensive lineman.
The Division I game will kick off at 10 a.m. at Trojan Stadium in Beloit.
"Oh heck yes, I'm thrilled and honored to be part of it," Blattner said in a phone interview. "Coulter and Joe will represent the area very well."
Blattner said that most of the 8-man coaches in Kansas met in Tescott (near Salina) in January where the head coach of each team explained how many players he wanted for the different positions. Then players are nominated by all the coaches who are in attendance. Coaches whose teams were district champions or runners-up get to vote on the team selections.
"Every time I talk to them, they say they can't wait," Blattner said of Croft and Carter.
Those two have signed letters-of-intent to play at Dodge City Community College in the fall. Former Rebels' standouts Garrison Hendricks (2011) and Zach Hibbert (2010) also played in previous games.
Carter will play June 23 in the annual Kansas-Nebraska all-star game. Croft was also selected for that game but a schedule conflict prevented him from participating.
In the 1 p.m. Division II contest, Dighton's Guy Fullmer and Devon Shapland will be joined by Moscow's Osvaldo Granillo on the West squad.
Fullmer, a 6-0, 175-pound running back, was a second-team all-area selection, while Granillo, a 6-0, 195-pounder, also is a running back and is coming off a three gold-medal performance at the Kansas State Track and Field Championships in Wichita. Shapland is a 6-0, 215-pound tight end.
The all-star game is sponsored by the Kansas 8-man Football Association and was begun in 1986 when there was just one division of 8-man schools in Kansas. In 2001, with two divisions of schools in place, the association opted to have two games.
Since then, there have been 11 games, with the West owning a 7-4 lead in Division I, while the East has a similar 7-4 edge over the West in Division II. Last year, the West defeated the East, 26-12, in Division I, while the East Division II romped over the West, 74-30.
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