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Examiner
  • Erasing bad memories?

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  • Fort Osage High School graduate Griffin Bledsoe has a larger-than-life personality that allows the big center to fit comfortably into any situation.
    His teammate, Dalton Miller, is a bit more reserved.
    But Miller, an offensive tackle, knows a thing or two about all-star games as he was the lone lineman to represent Missouri in the Blue-Grey All-American Game that was played back in January at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
    They are two of Eastern Jackson County's representatives who will play in next Thursday's Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game at Peve Stadium, on the campus of Blue Springs High School.
    Before the start of Wednesday night's practice at Raytown South High School, Bledsoe was ribbing St. Joseph Bishop LeBlond quarterback Matt McCullough, who was sporting a red warm-up during passing drills.
    “Wish I had me one of those cool red warmups,” joked Bledsoe, as Miller rolled his eyes. “It's great getting to know our new teammates. See Virgil (Words, an offensive lineman from Fort Osage's biggest rival, Staley) standing over there?
    “Last year, we hated each other. Now, we're best of friends.”
    Words grinned, and nodded in agreement.
    Both Bledsoe and Miller said they already feel close to their new teammates, who will try to help Missouri even its all-time all-star record against their rivals from Kansas at 11 wins each.
    “Our last game in high school was a bit of a party pooper,” the colorful Bledsoe said, referring to a 13-9 loss to Kearney in a Class 5 state quarterfinal game that ended with a controversial stripped ball from the Indians' Willie Penamon on the Kearney 8-yard line with 30 seconds left in the game.
    “So a win next week will wipe that bad taste out of our mouth. And believe me, Dalton and I have had that bad taste since that loss.”
    The same could be said for their fellow Missouri all-star teammates, fellow Fort Osage grads running back Ezra Vaoifi and defensive back Tyler Titus.
    “What's really cool about this game is that there are four Indians on the Missouri roster,” said Miller, who found it hard to get in a comment or two because of his vociferous teammate. “We're all excited about the game, but we're most excited about beating Kansas. When I play football, that's all I think about – winning. This way, with a win next week, we win our last high school game and we can forget about that loss to Kearney.
    “Well, not totally forget about it, but it's not going to hurt as much with a win against Kansas.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Bledsoe agreed.
    “This has been so much fun,” Bledsoe said. “You get to meet new people, you get to play football and you get the chance to beat Kansas. It doesn't get much better than that.”
    Editor's note: The Examiner will profile local coaches and players from the Missouri all-star team every day through next Thursday's contest. New Grain Valley football head coach and Missouri all-star assistant Davie Allie will be featured Friday.
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