Top seniors to meet in East-West game

Published 1:30 pm Friday, June 8, 2018

Several of the top high school football players in the region will play on Saturday in the Southeastern Kentucky Senior Bowl at Union College.

The team will be divided into the East vs West, and Harlan County coach Eddie Creech is leading the East squad, along with his staff and Knox Central coach Fred Hoskins.

“(Mason County coach) Tom Posey has run an all-star game just like this in northern Kentucky for 13 years with 20-plus schools. He’s brought it down here to the south,” Creech said. “I think this thing will really take off as the years go on.”

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Posey came up with the idea for the all-star game after coaching in several other similar events in the past.

“There wasn’t anything for the northeastern Kentucky players, so I decided to help the players play one more game in their high school helmet,” Posey said. “Some players need help to get some looks from college coaches, and this was a great way to be seen if they haven’t committed to a college.”

“Coach Posey made that clear when he talked to the kids earlier in the week that there will be multiple NAIA schools there trying to pick up some guys who slipped through the cracks,” Creech said. “The kids have enjoyed it so far.”

“I think it could help some of them,” Hoskins said. “It’s also good for our guys to get to know some of these guys they have competed with. Some of them will go to college together.”

The West team includes players from Corbin, South Laurel, North Laurel, Whitley County, McCreary Central and Jackson County.

Harlan County, Bell County, Letcher Central, Knott Central, Bell County, Middlesboro, Hazard, Harlan and Pineville are the schools eligible to send players to the East team.

“You’re dealing with players who were all-stars on their teams, so you don’t have to do a lot of teaching,” Creech said. “You’re just trying to get them lined up and in a defense. You don’t bang as much. It’s been a real laid back, fun week.”

“It’s good experience for me to get back around my seniors,” Hoskins said. “It’s a good football fix for a coach. I think this is something that could grow every year, and I appreciate coach Creech letting us come up here and practice and taking the reigns and organizing everything.”

Several of the players involved in the game are enjoying themselves.

“It’s been kind of different, but it’s great to be back on the football field. I’ve missed it, and I even dream about it sometimes,” said senior linebacker Caleb Carmical, a four-year starter at Harlan County. “I’m making new friends with some good guys from other schools. Football has always been my favorite. Growing up watching colleges, I always thought I wanted to do that. It’s a childhood dream to play college football.”

“It’s going to be fun. We’re all good friends now and look forward to the game Saturday,” Simmons said. “I’m a little out of shape, but I’ve enjoyed getting back out here. We’re all having a good time.”

Harlan County has the largest contingent on the East squad, including Simmons, Carmical, Hunter Owens, Devon Rodridgues, Robert Burgan, A.J. Simmons, Colby King, Jacob Branson, Quintin Mickens, Jacob Ward and Noah Wood.

Knox Central is represented by Jacob Davis, Caleb Swafford, Jermel Carton and Zach Mills. Hazard is represented by Matthew Francis, Robert Davidson, Kade Holland and Braxton Whitaker. Harlan’s Brandon Day and Bell County’s Nick Caldwell are also part of the team.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.