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Examiner
  • Bill Althaus: All-star game is must-see event

  • This past week I have been fortunate enough to spend each evening watching the spirited practice sessions of some special athletes who are about to play their final high school football game.

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  • This past week I have been fortunate enough to spend each evening watching the spirited practice sessions of some special athletes who are about to play their final high school football game.
    Many area football standouts will represent Missouri in tonight's Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association Country Mart Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game at 7:05 at Lee's Summit North High School.
    To say Eastern Jackson County is being represented by the best of the best would be an understatement as head coach Ryan Schartz and his staff have assembled a roster that includes everyone from state champions to players with enough heart to will home a victory in the summer classic.
    “I never thought I'd be in a game like this,” said GKCFCA and McCarthy Auto Group Scholarship winner and William Chrisman defensive tackle Josh Gilliland, who was one of the first players to arrive at practice each night this week.
    He had the talent, but he played for a Bears team that didn't have the success of programs like Blue Springs, Blue Springs South and Schartz's Indians squad.
    “That's what's so great about this game,” said Schartz, who inherited a Fort Osage team that had lost 19 games in a row and turned it into a state-wide powerhouse. “We can pick the kids who have the heart and the talent to play in game, even if they didn't come some of the most successful programs in the area.
    “I don't know of a coach who wouldn't want a Josh Gilliland on his team. We're proud to have him. We're proud of all these guys.”
    If you enjoy prep football, check out the all-star game. It will likely be a low-scoring, defensive-oriented affair that will give young men on both sides of the ball a lifetime of memories.
    Players told me this week that being named to the game was like a dream come true.
    And nothing tops a dream come true in a world that is filled with so many harsh realities.
    Schartz is the best young coach in the metro area and when he finally breaks through and wins his first state title – he's been to two state championship games – his name can be mentioned along with the Severinos, Donohoes, Oders and Boehms.
    “I really enjoy practicing with Coach Schartz,” said Blue Springs defensive standout and reigning Class 6 state champion Jason Young, who moved from the Fort Osage School District to Blue Springs when he was in eighth grade.
    “The practices have been intense, really good practices. We all have the game goal – beating Kansas Thursday night.”
    No matter where you live in the Eastern Jackson County area, you're not more than 15 or 20 minutes from Lee's Summit North. It's supposed to be a near-perfect night and the North football complex is second to none.
    Page 2 of 2 - Besides, how often do you get the opportunity to watch a handful of outstanding young men make their dreams come true?
    Bill Althaus is a sports writer and columnist for The Examiner. Reach him at 350-6333 or bill.althaus@examiner.net. Follow him on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
     
     
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