Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2006

Metro Classic taps three from LHS

Pekarek, Robbins, Slater to participate in football All-Star game

June 15, 2006

— Sweat dripped down Ryan Robbins and Jeff Slater's faces Tuesday evening after a two-hour football practice in temperatures well above 80 degrees.

No, the 2006 Lansing High graduates weren't finishing a college football practice at Dodge City Community College. They'll report for duty there July 3. Instead, they'd just finished practice at Mid-America Nazarene University with the rest of their Kansas All-Stars teammates. Robbins, Slater and the rest of the Kansas All-Stars will take on an all-star squad from Missouri at 7 p.m. today in the Metro Classic All-Star Football Game at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo.

"It's an honor to be able to participate in a game like this with this caliber of players," said Robbins, an All-League first-teamer at defensive end.

Olathe East coach Jeff Meyers is the Kansas All-Stars' head coach. LHS coach Bill Pekarek also is on the Kansas staff. He will coach the offensive line.

Although the Metro Classic serves as a grudge match of sorts between the best players from each side of the state line, Missouri has dominated the game in recent years. In fact, Kansas last won the game in 2001. That, coincidentally, is the last time Pekarek coached in the game.

"We were pretty much inside the hole and smashing heads the whole time," Pekarek recalled of Kansas' dominant rushing attack during the 2001 victory. "This time we're in the air a lot more. It's a lot of fun just to be a part of something like this where you have a lot of talented players."

Robbins is expected to start at defensive end for the Kansas All-Stars. Slater will be the backup tailback, but he will see plenty of action because the running backs will be bringing in plays from the sideline. That means Kansas will use a new running back every down.

Although every player on both rosters will receive playing time, the goal is to win. As a result, Slater said, the Kansas players were told that those making the most plays would see the most action in the second half.

"We're just expected to do what we did for our high school team and be playmakers," Slater said. "Everybody here has made plays throughout the season, and that's what we've got to do."

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