Grain Valley's Cole Keller eager to get busy in all-star football game

By Bill Althaus
The Examiner
Grain Valley quarterback Cole Keller, who capped his spring with state appearances in baseball and track and field, will join the Missouri squad for the BeYOUnion Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game Thursday at North Kansas City High School. It will be his final high school game before heading to play quarterback for Washburn University in the fall.

The schedule for the busiest high school athlete in Eastern Jackson County just got busier. 

Grain Valley quarterback Cole Keller – fresh off appearances at the Class 5 baseball state final four last weekend and the Class 5 Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships the week before – will join Van Horn’s big three and their former coach to play for the Missouri squad in the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association BeYOUnion Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game 7 p.m. Thursday at North Kansas City High School. 

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"Busy? Oh yeah, I'm busy," said Keller, who also leaves this weekend for a weeklong session of Missouri Boys State in Jefferson City. "Right now, I'm like, 'This is so crazy.' But I wouldn't trade it for anything. We had a great trip to the state track meet, and I'm still disappointed we didn't win state (in baseball), but stuff like that happens.

Cole Keller

"Now, I'm getting to play football with the best of the best from Missouri,” added Keller, who has signed with NCAA Division II Washburn University in the fall. “It's so cool to represent your high school – and your state – in a big game like this, especially after last year was canceled because of COVID." 

More:Keller's dual feat results in Grain Valley's first baseball district crown since 2009

More:Keller, Jeffries lead Grain Valley baseball to first state final four in 18 years

He will join the Van Horn trio – defensive end Jason Skivers, who is going to Missouri as a preferred walk-on; wide receiver Arlandes Mitchell, who has signed with MidAmerica Nazarene; and newly added defensive back Sean Mitchell, who has signed with William Jewell after playing quarterback and defensive back for the Falcons. They will be on the field with their coach William Harris, who left following the season to become the head coach at his alma mater, Raytown South High School. 

Keller, The Examiner's Offensive Player of the Year, Simone Award semifinalist and a Class 5 all-state selection in football, also was an all-district selection in basketball and is a candidate for all-state honors in baseball. 

"I wanted to have a great senior year, and it's all been unbelievable," said Keller, who missed most of the postseason in football and most of the basketball season with an injury before losing his junior season of baseball to the COVID-19 pandemic. "I had to miss some practices because we went to state (baseball), but the coaches have been great about it. I've spent a lot of time on my own looking over the playbook, so I can throw to studs like Arlandes." 

Van Horn quarterback Sean Mitchell runs for a touchdown last fall. Mitchell will play defensive back for the Missouri squad in the BeYOUnion Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game Thursday before starting his college career at William Jewell.

When Keller missed a practice to make the trip to the final four with the Eagles baseball team, Arlandes Mitchell was shook up. 

"Where's that big dude from Grain Valley?" he asked. 

When he was assured that Keller would be back in time for the game, he grinned and said, "Can't wait to catch some passes from Keller." 

More:Grain Valley duo pulls off super dual

Sean Mitchell, who was recently added to the all-star roster when some players left the team, can't wait to play with Keller and his two teammates and former coach. 

"The big three are back," said Mitchell, one of the most talented and animated players in the history of Falcons football. "I get to be on the same field with Jason and Arlandes, and it's a dream come true to play for Coach Harris one more time. I owe that man so much – he's a big reason I'm the man and the player I am today." 

Mitchell, who had a classic basketball battle with Keller when the Falcons played the Eagles, said he can't wait to be teammates with the Missouri quarterback. 

"He can flat out play any sport," Sean Mitchell said of Keller. "He is so competitive and I want that competitive spirit on my team. I was hoping I would get to play in this game, and things worked out. I'm up at Jewell, hitting the weight room and working hard, and I'm going to bring everything I have to this Missouri team."