From graduation to gridiron
Game time is 7 p.m. at Reed High School, and graduation is 4 p.m. at South Tahoe High. Friday is going to be a hectic day for the six STHS seniors playing in the 20th Annual Sertoma All Star Football Classic in Sparks.
Jarred Uppendahl, Jake Hurwitz, Sean Kezer, Matt McGuffin, Ryan Griffith and Ryan Hickey will all have to hustle just to make it to Sparks before kickoff.
“I don’t think it’s going to bother us all that much,” said Hickey, who will play wide receiver. “Matt McGuffin likes to get there the two full hours ahead of time to get psyched up.
“But if you like to play football as much as we do, it shouldn’t be a problem at all.”
Luckily, the six have been moved up in the graduation ceremony so they can get their diplomas and head on their way. Still, whoever is handing them out might want to don some shoulder pads and a helmet.
Joining the STHS gridders will be Luke Forvilly and Joel Warnick from Whittell High. All eight South Shore players have made good showings during the six practices heading into the game.
“They’ve shown up to all the practices and worked hard, so they should get some good playing time,” said Jim Morgan, receivers coach.
With some of the best players from the 2A, 3A, and 4A on the squad, the battle for starting positions have been fierce.
Chris Carr of McQueen and Hurwitz have both been impressing coaches and have continued their battles from the fall.
“Jake has been busting his tail all week,” Morgan said. “He and Chris have been running great.”
While Hurwitz and Carr have been grinding it out on the ground, Uppendahl has been gunning balls along with McQueen’s Graham Sidirius.
The talented depth at every position has players practicing hard.
“Everyone is good. We have really good depth charts,” Uppendahl said. “That makes it fun.”
For Warnick and Forvilly this week has been a eye-opener of sorts. During their four years at WHS, they really haven’t had many position coaches to help them develop.
Sertoma and North Tahoe head coach Bill Freeman has been pleasantly surprised with the way they’ve played.
“They have impressed me a lot,” Freeman said. “For not having position coaches they’ve performed very well.”
One thing that has surprised Warnick is the level of competition during the sessions.
“You can’t take any plays off,” he said.
But he hasn’t shied away from the contact either.
“I like it because everyone hits hard,” the tight end said. “It has been the funnest practices I’ve ever been involved in.”
While starting lineups have yet to be set, the positions have. Forvilly and Kezer will be free safeties, while McGuffin will be on the offensive line and Griffith will be a linebacker.
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“Let Them Play,” rallies are taking place across California with a mission to bring back high school and youth sports.