Future Stars game set for KWC
By Jim Pickens Messenger-Inquirer | Posted: Thursday, June 19, 2014 12:00 am
The Kentucky Future Stars, a collection of the best middle school football players in the commonwealth, will showcase their talents against the Tennessee Future Stars on Saturday at Kentucky Wesleyan College's Steele Stadium.
The seventh grade all-star game between the border rivals is set for noon, with the eighth-graders expected to take the field at about 2:30 p.m. Admission is $10, and youngsters 4-and-under will be admitted free.
"It's a good stage for these kids to be on," said Future Stars game director Ricco Hughes, who has coached at the youth level in Louisville for more than two decades. "We're trying to create early exposure for all the talented young football players in Kentucky and Tennessee.
"Just like with AAU basketball, recruiting is happening earlier and earlier for young football players. We're in our fifth year with this game, and already it's provided a lot of exposure for the young talent in both states."
The games will feature several players from local middle schools.
The Kentucky seventh-grade squad includes a trio of Burns Middle School players — Von Williams, Kobe Hamilton and Quentin Miller. The eighth-grade squad, meanwhile, features Burns' Reid Shartung, College View's Jace Sutherland and two players from Owensboro Middle School, Nate Humphrey and Ray-Ray Weaver.
Also, Bryan Wilson, a coach at Burns Middle School, will serve as a Kentucky seventh-grade team assistant.
"This is a big accomplishment for these kids," Wilson said. "It's a great opportunity for the players who want to continue and advance their careers in amateur football.
"They're playing alongside and against outstanding players from outside the Owensboro area, and these games are a chance for them to know where they stack up against kids their own age from throughout Kentucky and Tennessee."
Wilson believes the Kentucky-Tennessee Future Stars games can be a springboard for those who perform well.
"Alumni from this game have gone on to excel at the high school and college levels, and even to reach the professional level." he said. "That's why it's important to be in the game, and to play well when you're in the game. If you do well, the scouts in attendance are definitely going to take notice."
Beyond this, Wilson said the game is preparation for the next level of competition.
"These types of games are great for building leadership skills and taking them on into high school," he said. "Football is one of the ultimate team sports, and the teams that become successful at the next level are those who have players who work well together, who work for the common goal of the team."
Kentucky players who made the team participated in tryouts during April in Louisville and Bowling Green, featuring upwards of 300 players.
"There are some really talented players in the Owensboro area who didn't try out this time," Wilson said, "but having a number of local players make the team, plus playing the games at Kentucky Wesleyan, should increase interest next year.
"And, that's what we're looking for -- giving as many local kids as possible the chance to succeed in football at a high level."
Jim Pickens, (270) 691-7314,