Van Horn grad Skivers reunited with coach for all-star game before heading to Mizzou

By Bill Althaus
The Examiner
Van Horn senior defensive end Jason Skivers (55) celebrates a stop by the Falcons in a game last fall. Skivers, who has signed as a preferred walk-on at Mizzou, will play for the Missouri squad in the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association's BeYOUnion Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Football Game 7 p.m. Thursday at North Kansas City High School

Jason Skivers was putting on his gear, preparing for the nightly practice session for the BeYOUnion Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Football Game when he was approached by his former head coach at Van Horn High School. 

William Harris – who built the Van Horn program into a winner before leaving to return to his alma mater, Raytown South High School – is coaching the defensive line for the all-star game and Skivers is expected to be a strong component to that part of the Missouri team. 

"Now, you get away from me," Skivers joked as Harris approached wearing Raytown South football gear. "We can talk if you get some Falcons gear on, but not that Raytown South stuff." 

They both laughed, hugged and talked about just how special the all-star game will be for each of them. 

"It's so special to be able to coach Jason one more time," Harris said of the Class 4 all-state defensive end who will be practicing with the University of Missouri football team later this summer. "I watched Jason grow from a freshman, to the man he is today. And as proud as I am of him for all his accomplishments in football – all the honors, going to Missouri. I am most proud of the young man he's become. 

"And I get this one last time to work with him on the all-star defensive line. I can't wait to see what he does in the game." 

Jason Skivers, left, greets his former Van Horn High School coach William Harris, who is now the head coach at Raytown South, at a recent practice for the BeYOUnion Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Football Game at North Kansas City High School. Skivers, who has signed as a preferred walk-on at Mizzou, will be coached by Harris in the all-star game 7 p.m. Thursday at North Kansas City.

Skivers, who has committed to Mizzou as a preferred walk-on, is eager to play with the "big boys" in the 7 p.m. Thursday all-star game at North Kansas City High School. 

In his senior season at Van Horn he had 64 tackles (39 solo), 14 tackles for loss, four sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He was a member of the All-Crossroads Conference team and the Crossroads Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He was also all-district and a member of the Missouri Football Coaches Association Class 4 all-state third team. 

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"First and foremost, I have to thank everyone from Van Horn who made this possible," the 6-foot-3, 235-pound lineman said. "My teammates, who pushed me at every practice, our coaches, and especially Coach Harris. For the past four years, he has been a father figure to me and I would not be the man I am today without him. 

"And now, even though I like to give him a hard time about wearing Ray-South gear, we're back together and he's coaching the defensive lineman. I know his defense, I know his plan, what he's thinking and I think that's really going to help when it comes game time." 

Last year's game was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes this year's game even more special. 

"I feel so bad for all the guys who missed out last year," Skivers said of the annual game put on by the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association. "This year, man, I'm playing with – and against – the best of the best. I'm not playing against some sophomore or junior who is undersized and doesn't really know how to play. Every guy on the team, the guys on the D-line and the O-line are the best, we're all all-stars, and I know when I get past a lineman or make a big defensive play I'm making it against one of the best players in the state. 

"And hopefully on Thursday I get to make those plays against the best offensive players from Kansas. It's been a while since Missouri has won this game, and we hope to get Missouri started on a new winning streak Thursday."