High school football stars representing Mitchell County, Albany High, Monroe, Westover, Seminole County, Miller County, Dougherty, Sherwood Christian, Pelham, Turner County, Deerfield-Windsor, Terrell County and Worth County stand united Thursday during their second-to-last practice at Centennial Stadium in Camilla in preparation for Saturday’s 4th annual Border Wars All-Star Game against fellow prep stars from North Florida. The game will be played at FAMU’s Bragg Stadium in Tallahassee at 1 p.m. (Larry G. Williams/Special to The Herald)
CAMILLA — Miller County’s T.T. Barber doesn’t know any North Florida players he’ll face Saturday in the 4th annual Border Wars High School All-Star Game.
He just hopes they know his name afterward.
WHO: South Georgia prep football all-stars vs, North Florida all-stars.
WHAT: 4th annual Border Wars All-Star Game.
WHEN: 1 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Bragg Stadium on FAMU’s campus, Tallahassee, Fla.
“I want to make sure they do know me when I leave,” said Barber, the Pirates’ senior who will play linebacker, quarterback and running back in the annual all-star contest between Southwest Georgia and Florida Big Bend area players.
Nearly every standout from Albany’s collection of schools and the Southwest corner of Georgia will be showcased Saturday in Tallahassee. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. inside Bragg Stadium on the campus of Florida A&M.
In its fourth year, the 2012 Border Wars All-Star game has grown and attracted more players and college recruiters.
“It got to the point where we had to go out and beg kids to play when we started out the first couple of years,” said Bobby Latmore, president of Varsity Sports Management, which organizes several all-star games like Saturday’s event. “Now, it’s unfortunate, we’re having to turn kids away that want to play in this game.”
The Georgia team will be coached by Monroe head man Charles Truitt, who has coached in the game all three of the previous years as a coordinator. His offensive coordinator, Mitchell County head coach Dondrial Pinkins, had less than a week to install an offense, as did Monroe defensive coordinator Jesse Hunt, who will run the defense.
Practices started Monday in Camilla at Centennial Stadium, and one thing became clear: There’s plenty of talent to go around and everybody wants the ball.
“It’s a lot easier,” Truitt said of coaching the collection of talent. “We met with them at the start and told them they were all-stars on their particular team. (But here), we’re going to have to spread the ball around.”
Miller County’s Barber is just one of several headliners on the South Georgia team, and he’s already stared in one postseason game. Barber was named MVP of the North-South All-Star game in Columbus last week after pulling down two interceptions and leading the South team in tackles. Seminole County’s Dee Virgin and Chris Brown also played well in that game, but only Virgin will play Saturday after Brown decided not to participate.
Barber said he has been impressed with Westover defensive tackle Chris Green this week in practice. Green is just one of several players on the roster with college offers, along with Albany High’s Jontavious Morris and Roscoe Byrd, Westover receiver Kenneth Towns, and Monroe’s Devine Noel and Vantrel McMillan.
“A lot colleges are starting to open their eyes to the good competition and the good talent that’s in these two areas, and they’re starting to come down here more,” Latmore said.
Latmore added that about 28 colleges attended last year’s game in Moultrie, and more than 40 have said they will attend Saturday’s game in Tallahassee.
“We’ve had some college recruiters come and speak to our kids,” Truitt said. “Some of these kids have fallen under the radar and this game gives the college coaches a chance to take a look at these kids. If only one kid gets signed that wouldn’t have been, it was worth our time.”
Terrell County’s Dekoven Ware also wants to impress college recruiters, but at the same time he’s one of several who are in the midst of basketball season. Ware practiced in Camilla Tuesday for the all-star game, then rode with coach William Huff to Donalsonville, where the Greenwave basketball team was playing Seminole County. Ware arrived at halftime, scored 14 points in the second half and helped his team to a win. He’ll miss today’s Terrell County basketball game, but plans to drive back after Saturday’s football game to play in a basketball game that night.
“I’ve got plenty of energy,” said Ware, who would love a win over North Florida in the Border War game and then another against Mitchell County on Saturday night.
The series record in the Border Wars All-Star game is tied at 1-1-1 after both teams split the first two and then tied last year.
“Hopefully we’ll break the tie this year,” Truitt said. “It’s an opportunity for these kids to end their high school career on a winning note. They want to win against a team from another state.”
For more information on the game, visit www.varsitysportsmanagement.com online.