3 Wildcats named all-stars
The 13th annual Sertoma Grin Iron Football Classic, slated for June 6 at JFK Stadium at Parkview High School in Springfield, will have a decidedly local flavor.
The 2014 game features the best 94 seniors and 16 coaches from southwest Missouri. Participants were selected by the Southwest Missouri High School Football Coaches Association.
Cassville's Ty Craig, Hayden Prater and Briar Meek earned an invitation to the prestigious event.
"It is a big honor for any athlete to be selected for this all-star game," said Lance Parnell, Cassville football coach. "To have three players from Cassville on the team is an testament to their skill. I am excited to go watch them play."
Craig was a three-year starter for the Wildcats. He began his career at corner and ended as the everyday safety.
"Ty was a leader and a good player for our team," Parnell said. "He did everything we asked of him."
Prater was a dominant force in the Cassville linebacking core.
"The kid lived in the weight room and went 100 miles per hour on the field," Parnell said. "He is going to be fun to watch in college. I was honored to coach him."
Meek dislocated his should in the Lamar game, but came back by week six in the season to be the black and gold's vocal leader.
"Briar worked his tail off each and every game," Parnell said. "He was the rock in our offensive line. He meant everything to this team up front."
The Big 8 Conference secured 17 of the West Team's 47 roster spots, 36 percent of the team. Including players from the Spring River Valley Conference and Marionville, that number leaps to 22, or 47 percent.
Seven athletes from Barry and Lawrence counties will put the football pads on one more time.
From the Big 8 are: Shawn Beeson, Monett; Payton Rawlins, Dalan Merriman, Braxton Graham, Chance Smith and Mac Yust, Seneca; Dustin Satterlee and Alex McMullen, Carl Junction; Rocky Liveoak, East Newton; Brandon Eaves, Jimmy Keutzer, Jacob Rice and Ben Bailey, Lamar;
From the Spring River Valley Conference: Robert Oeltjen, Lockwood; Zach Renfro, Diamond; Garett Triplett, Sarcoxie; and Brenden Richardson, Miller.
Marionville's Jacob Miller and Ryan White round out the area players on the Grin Iron roster.
The West's coaching staff is headed by Seneca head coach Dan Scheible. He will be assisted by Seneca's Mac Whitehead, Josh Yarnell, Tom Hodge and Chris Yust and Nixa's Aaron Wells and Wayne Haynes from Reeds Spring will also assist.
This is the third consecutive year that a Big 8 coach has been tapped to lead the prestigious team. (Scott Bailey, Lamar, in 2012; Chad Depée, Monett, in 2013).
The West team has won 11 of the 12 contests.
The annual all-star football game has grown into a tradition for area seniors and their families, celebrating the final football game in the athletes' high school careers.
The Grin Iron Classic also serves as a benefit for the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, also known as the Tooth Truck, a mobile dental clinic for at-risk children who lack access to dental care.
Since its inception in 2002, the Tooth Truck has helped over 16,000 children with dental treatment valued at more than $9.3 million through 40,000 dental appointments.
The Grin Iron Classic will also feature tours of the Tooth Truck, ICON CHEER, the National Guard colorguard, a visit from Ronald McDonald, concessions and commemorative programs and T-shirts.
All Grin Iron Classic alumni are invited to the game and will receive complimentary tickets. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Grin Iron Classic is presented by Delta Dental of Missouri and the Heart of the Ozarks Sertoma Club.