One last chance.
That’s the way former Mildred football coach Patrick Harvell put it.
Harvell was talking about the upcoming FCA Super Centex Victory Bowl in Waco, a prestigious all-star game that not only features some of the best talent in this part of Texas, but will have nine players and two cheerleaders from the Golden Circle area in the game.
Led by Frost running back Danial Steels, the GC kids will be all over the field on both sides of the ball and on both teams when they line up for the game, which will be played on Saturday, June 15 at Baylor’s Floyd Casey Stadium.
The players are chosen from 91 schools in 12 counties in the Heart of Texas.
“A lot of teams had real good years in our area,’’ said Harvell, who will be one of the coaches on the Blue team. “We went to the state championship game, and Blooming Grove made the playoffs and Frost had a real good year. When you have years like that you see kids go to all-star games.’’
Harvell retired after the state title game, but was asked to coach in the Victory Bowl.
“This will give me a chance to roam the sidelines one last time,’’ he said.
It’s the same for the players, who will be playing their last high school game before moving on to college.
“It gives the kids another opportunity to showcase their ability,’’ Harvell said. “By now, most of them have already received college scholarships, but for some it will be their last chance to play in front of mom and dad.’’
Steeles rushed for 1,878 yards and 29 touchdowns and was the Golden Circle Mike Montfort Offensive MVP. He has accepted a scholarship to Prairie View A&M, and he’s thrilled to be playing in Victory Bowl.
“When I got the letter about the game it was pretty exciting,’’ he said. “It will be nice to play one more high school game before going to college. I really had a great year and playing in one more game will bring back memories.’’
It might get emotional for some of the players.
“Maybe a little emotional before the game,’’ Steels said. “But I’ll get over it the minute we start playing the game. Once the game starts, it will just be fun.’’
The players start practice Wednesday in Waco, and like in every all-star game, the offense and defensive schemes will be pretty simple. Still, this game has produced a lot of drama over the years.
The games have been close but the Red team has won all four games since the inception of the Victory Bowl 2009.
“They’ve won all of them,’’ said Steels, who is on the Red team along with GC players Kez Williams, a defensive lineman from Hubbard and Wortham tight end Chris Lee.
“We’re going to try to break the streak,’’ Harvell said. His Blue team is loaded with players from the Golden Circle. The Blues have six GC players.
Corsicana’s Bobby Wallace, a defensive back and wide receiver, and D’Eriq Jordan, a defensive lineman, are both on the Blue team. Mildred has two first-team Golden Circle and all-state players on the Blue squad — Jeremy Ballard, who was a hawk in the secondary for Mildred with12 interception and a tough running back who gained 672 yards and scored a dozen touchdowns, and Noah Pennell, one of the top offensive linemen in the area and the co-winner of the GC’s Dick Gibbs Leadership Award. Ballard was the GC’s Co-Iron Man of the Year as the one of the top two-way players in the area.
Blooming Grove quarterback Jayd Kirby, a first-team GC player who threw for 1,414 yards and 14 touchdowns, is on the Blue team as well as Kerens linebacker Michael Kline, a first-team GC player who made 130 tackles, including 16 for losses.
Kerens cheerleader Brittany McCloud will be cheering for the Blue team and Hubbard’s Maggie McGhee will be on the Red team’s cheerleading squad.