McALESTER — The 30th Lake Eufaula All-Star Classic will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. at Paul Bell Stadium in Eufaula. Local seniors and their coaches will have to battle not only each other, but the ghost of last year’s game as well.
The 29th Classic, after all, ended in the third quarter when a fight broke out and the referees left.
“We’ve stressed to our players how important it is that we finish our careers the right way,” West and Beggs coach Lee Blankenship said Thursday. “I don’t anticipate something like that is going to happen this year.”
While most players from Pittsburg County will play for the East, four seniors from Savannna will suit up for the West. Those seniors are running back/defensive back Christian Preston; running back/linebacker Hunter Needham; offensive and defensive lineman Kane Konsure; and offensive lineman/linebacker Tanner Dugger.
As a former coach at Gore, one of Savanna’s district rivals, Blankenship said he came to the West team already very familiar with Savanna’s personnel.
“We’ve been bragging on those Class A kids from Savanna all week long,” Blankenship said. “They’ve really been impressive in practice, and I’m sure they’re going to make a big impact on the game as well.”
Both Blankenship and East head coach Brandon Ellis will be coaching in the Classic for the first time. Ellis, the head coach at Panama, said his Razorback assistant coaches will help him coach the East, and Blankenship said his Demons assistants will help with the West.
“It’s fun to let these guys have their last little hurrah, and it’s nice meeting kids from other schools,” Ellis said. “Everybody just has a great attitude.”
McAlester, Hartshorne and Haileyville will be represented on the East team. McAlester seniors are: wide receiver/cornerback Cade Harkins; wide receiver/cornerback Mason Bumphus; wide receiver/safety Allen Woodmore; center Mikey Verner; and offensive lineman Connor Powers.