By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Are you ready for some football?
The North-South Football Classic, showcasing the state’s top graduating players, will be played at University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field on June 15.
One player chomping at the bit for another shot on the field is Woodrow Wilson senior quarterback Andrew Johnson.
“That was one of the goals I set for myself — to play in that game,” Johnson said.
He’ll be joined by Beckley teammates Ramon Edwards and Michael Bailey.
“Ramon and I are brothers on and off the field,” and excited Johnson said. “Hopefully there’s some time when we can be side-by-side on a kick return.
“Michael Bailey is a great blocker. It’s going to be great having him block for me one more time.”
Other area players selected were Ethan Barker and Jake Grimmett (Midland Trail), Zack Johnson and Tyler Parker (Greenbrier West), Tre Moore (Greenbier East), Dustyn Murphy (Nicholas County), Slayton Beard (Valley), Brandon Thomas (River View), Tashan Vineyard (Mount View) and Brandon Williams (Oak Hill.)
Johnson’s excitement was no surprise as he found out who will be suiting up alongside the Hargave Military Academy commit.
“It’s the North-South All-Star Game. There’s going to be a lot of great players,” Johnson said. “There's sure to be a lot of great players to throw the ball to.”
It was a rival of Johnson’s in basketball that he was most looking forward to throwing the ball to in Travond Reese of South Charleston.
“Travond, that’s my boy,” Johnson said. “We play AAU (basketball) together. He’ll be a big target out on the field.”
The game will give Johnson one more time to play for Woodrow assistant coach Jim Martin. Martin will serve alongside Midland Trail’s Randy Halsey and Lewis McClung on Joe Dean’s staff.
Martin serves as quarterbacks coach for the Flying Eagles.
“I’m hoping it gives me a little advantage to get that starting spot,” Johnson said.
The record-breaking Woodrow quarterback said he’s willing to work as a kicker or punter if needed.
“I don't plan on having too many fourth downs though,” he said with a laugh.
Players are voted on by high school football coaches from around the state. The top 36 graduating players in each region are then selected to play.
South coach Joe Dean said the event is more than a football game for the players involved.
“The committee has activities for them arranged, and there’s some wonderful sponsors,” he said. “They have things for them to do in the evenings. These guys make new friends that will last them a lifetime.”
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.Rollins.