MAIS All-Star game: Locals get set for final game
CLINTON — Matthew Rymer and Brandon Ross’s senior season ended early when Adam County Christian School lost to Glenbrook High School in the second round of the MAIS Class AA playoffs — or so they thought.
They also thought it would be the last time they got to play for head coach David King when they lost 31-20.
Ross and Rymer have both been selected to the MAIS All-Star South team to give them one more chance to leave it all out on the field — and they get the chance to do it under King, the South team’s selected head coach.
Ross said he was shocked, yet humbled he made the team. Though he knew he had a good year, he wasn’t sure it was good enough to make the all-star list.
“It feels great,” Ross said. “I couldn’t ask for anything else, and knowing that this is my last game makes it very special.”
Ross and Rymer both provided a strong one-two punch at linebacker for the Rebels this season, and Rymer said it would be fun to play with his teammate one last time.
“We play the same way, so it’ll be great to have one more game together,” Rymer said.
Not only is Rymer looking forward to a fun game and plenty of memories, but it could also be a game that could predict his future.
“There will be so many players, so it will be less playing time, but I hope to see some college coaches there, because you never know,” Rymer said,
King has only coached ACCS for two seasons, but Ross said he and his coach have built a bond that made playing in the All-Star even more special when Ross found out King was the South’s coach.
“I wouldn’t want anyone else to coach me,” Ross said.
This is the fourth time for King to coach in the All-Star game, but he said it feels like the first time.
“My colleagues chose me to coach, so it’s an honor,” King said.
King took his team through their first practice Tuesday, and he said they spent a lot of time going over plays that fit their personnel. But the hard part won’t come until game day.
“Ninety-nine percent of the boys will never play another snap again,” he said. “I’ll have to put my ego aside and try to get everyone to play no matter what. It’ll be a task trying to get all of them in there.”
King also has a history with a few other players on the team. He will reunite with Trinity Episcopal Day School players Caleb Cross and Cole Radzewicz, whom he coached until after the 2011 season. Cross said it’ll be like déjà vu to be under the direction of King again.
“He made me feel comfortable when I’m here,” Cross said. “It feels good to go back and have him as a coach. It’s like going back to when I used to play for him.”
Radzewicz said it was a breath of fresh air to be with a coach he knows personally during the All-Star game.
“It’s nice to play under King again, because I always respected him,” Radzewicz said. “He’s such a great coach, and I know he’ll lead us on the right path.”
The Trinity trio just returned from Jackson two weeks ago after winning the MAIS Class A state championship against Marshall Academy, and Cross said the return to Jackson for the All-Star game is just the icing on the cake.
“I think it’s cool that I get to miss a week of school to come up here for the game,” Cross joked. “I’ll be able to tell people that I was one of the chosen few to play in this game.”
Quarterback Michael Whitley was also chosen to the South’s team, though he never played for King. Whitley said more than anything, he’s happy he’s not alone on his trip to Jackson, and having Cross and Radzewicz by his side makes everything sweeter.
“I’m very happy to have people that I know up here with me,” Whitley said. “I just want to have fun. I’m not worried about stats, I want to win, of course, but I just want to have fun.”
The MAIS All-Star game will be played Friday at Mississippi College’s Robinson-Hale Stadium.