Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local Sports

January 9, 2014

All-Star game provides locals another chance to impress

THOMASVILLE — When the War of the Border All-Star game began in 2009, the goal was to help just one extra player garner a scholarship.

Now heading into its sixth year — and with three different games in the area — it has surpassed that goal, but the objective remains the same: to give local standouts one additional shot to impress recruiters.

“In most of these All-Star games, you see the guys that are going to Georgia and places like that,” said Mike Gammons, the Georgia liaison for the All-Star game. “Our game, it’s more about giving guys a chance who are hearing from one or two schools or maybe aren’t even hearing from any schools.

“When we started, we just wanted to have at least one kid get blessed. Last year, we had about 50 to 60 percent get scholarships.”

That additional chance to turn a recruiter’s eye will come next Friday for 13 local standouts as Moultrie’s Mack Tharpe Stadium will host an 8 p.m. kickoff. Joining Cairo, Thomas County Central and Thomasville standouts on the Georgia side will be players from Americus-Sumter, Bainbridge, Brooks County, host Colquitt County, Early County, Miller County, Mitchell County, Monroe, Pelham, Tift County, Trinity Christian, Westover and Worth County.

Tift County’s John Reid will serve as Georgia’s head coach in the game.

Thomasville’s Mario Cherry, the Times-Enterprise All-Area Player of the Year, the Region 1-AA coaches’ Player of the Year and an honorable mention All-State performer, leads the local contingent after rushing for 1,604 yards. He will be joined by Bulldog teammates Calvin Perkins, an All-Area selection, and Matt Huddleston, who was All-Area honorable mention. Perkins had 57 tackles for THS.

Central has five All-Area picks playing in the game led by defensive line standout Austin Parmer (77 tackles and 4.5 sacks) and linebacker Jarell Jones (89 tackles). Kicker Gavin Wilson (44-of-45 on extra points and three field goals), and offensive linemen Caleb Autrey, Sam Long and Reggie Mobley are also on the Georgia roster.

Four Cairo Syrupmakers made the team led by offensive linemen Tyler Shepard and Richard Walker. Safety Dontavious Gurley, who joined those two on the All-Area team, and running back Bryan Soles are also in the All-Star game.

Those players along with the rest of the Georgia and Florida rosters should have quite the contingent to impress. Gammons said coaches from as far away as Mississippi and Division II national runner-up Lenoir-Rhyne from North Carolina have inquired about the players. The Bears’ roster featured a handful of War of the Border alumni.

“The college coaches love it because they can come and see 100 to 120 kids at one time, and they are all on the same level,” Gammons said. “This is an All-Star game so if you whip the guy on the other side, it means something.”

Providing that platform is the main cause, but Gammons said a win would be nice as well. Since winning the inaugural game, Georgia has lost three of the past four to go along with a tie in 2011.

“It’s time to get a win,” Gammons said. “Madison County’s Mike Coe is the Florida coach and every time he sees me he tells me he’s already 2-0 and holds up three fingers at me.”

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