3 Raiders All-Stars bound

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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Covington Raiders players Jason Jackson (left), Caleb Varner (center) and Dillion Motes will travel to Atlanta to play in a semi-pro All-Star football game Saturday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

All season long, Covington Raiders outside linebacker Caleb Varner has made a name for himself on the gridiron.

When the Raiders would play opponents, whether in a win or loss, the Red Level native usually can be found sacking the quarterback, causing players to take notice that No. 21 is on the field.

Varner, along with teammates Dillion Motes and Jason Jackson, will be playing in the 2014 ADPFL National-American All-Star Football Game on Saturday afternoon at Grady High School in Atlanta, Ga.

Varner led the league in sacks with 19, Motes was nominated by players as the best center and Jackson dominated on both sides of the ball.

When asked what this opportunity, which is one that allows players the chance to perform in front of European Football League and other professional scouts, means to them, all said it’s something they’ll take advantage of.

“It’s something that I thought that I could do in the beginning (of the season),” Motes, a Brantley native, said. “Then, it finally happened. To be honest, I really don’t know how to take it. I’m still trying to get used to it.”

Varner said for him, it’s going to be a “second chance.”

“I never thought I’d get to play it again after high school,” Varner said about football. “This is going to be the biggest game that I’ve ever played in. I’m going to take advantage of it and do whatever it takes.”

Jackson said he’s anxious to start playing in the game.

“It means a lot,” the Evergreen native said. “It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to doing — getting that big break and opportunity. Now, that I’ve got it, I’ve got to take advantage of it.”

If players are lucky, then they will be contacted by the scouts who are going to be present at the game and will ask them to come and try out in a combine. From there, players will know whether or not they’ll get to play in the pros.

In the lead-up to the game, players will have a meet and greet on Friday with coaches around the league, and potential owners from the European league.

Then, they’ll run through a practice on Saturday before kick off at 4 p.m. EST.

After the game, there will be an ADPFL championship at 7.

Additionally, Motes, Jackson and Varner — who are playing on the National team — will be playing in another All-Star game on Aug. 14 against an international football team from Japan.

Raiders coach Jeffery Williams couldn’t be more happy for his players, but wishes there were more from the team participating.

“It’s a great opportunity for them,” Williams said. “It’s going to also bring more exposure to this town.”

Admission to the game is $10, and it will be held at Henry W. Grady Stadium, which is right across the street from Piedmont Park in Atlanta.