Athletes shine in All-Star games

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

Having the opportunity to play in an All-Star game is a very good experience for an athlete. So far in Butler County, four athletes have had that opportunity.

Bert Rice and Dan Duncan from Fort Dale Academy and most recently, Zane McMeans of Georgiana and Josh Hawkins of Greenville High School.

Games of this nature give athletes the opportunity to show off what they can do on the football field and that they are versatile. Rice had some adjusting to do during All-Star week.

During the 2004 football season, the Fort Dale senior played the majority of the year on the offensive line and then as a defensive end for the Eagles.

But come time for All-Star week, he suddenly found himself directly over the football at the nose guard position.

Playing the nose is a tough position for any player.

It is one of those positions where you are banging heads every single play.

That just shows Rice's toughness on the field. Games like these provide athletes like Rice and Duncan the opportunity to play one last game.

Their season was cut short thanks to Edgewood Academy, but due to the Alabama Independent School Association having their All-Star game right after the state championship game, Rice and Duncan got to put the gear on one more time, in cold weather, to prove what they could do.

For McMeans and Hawkins, it's an opportunity that doesn't come around often.

Despite the Independent School Association playing their game early, The AHSAA game is going to have theirs broadcast on Christmas Eve.

For McMeans and Hawkins, that's a first. Especially since high school football games in Alabama aren't broadcast unless the team makes it into the state championship.

McMeans and Hawkins are having the opportunity to play in a televised game inside a major college stadium.

Troy University is going to a bowl game and is gaining national attention. For athletes in the state to come in and play on the Trojans home field is an honor.

But for Hawkins, it was his second time playing on the FieldTurf of Troy University's Movie Gallery Stadium.

His first time was last season when the Greenville High School Tigers made the road trip to Troy and faced regional foe Charles Henderson.

McMeans has never played on any kind of football surface except grass.

For the juniors, this game also gives them the opportunity for some exposure.

In the crowd and the press box Tuesday, college recruiters were watching and enjoying the show. But more importantly, they are making their lists of players to come see next season.

Above all games like this give the players involved the chance to end their season on a positive note.

Duncan and Rice's All-Star game ended probably the best way an All-Star game could, in a tie.

McMeans took full advantage of the talent on his team and had multiple carries, but did have one fumble that stopped a drive.

Hawkins lined up against defensive linemen from Tuscaloosa County and Hoover and had the opportunity to push them all over the field, which he did with ease a couple of plays.

Score-wise in the AHSAA All-Star game, the South took an early 3-0 lead and then this writer had to travel back to Greenville so deadlines could be made and our readers could get the latest sports news.

It's that simple.

Griffin Pritchard is the Sports Editor of the Greenville Advocate. He can be reached by phone at 382-3111 or via email at