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Conner, Morgan to be in GISA All-Star game
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James Conner, left, and head coach Clint Morgan will represent Bulloch Academy in the 25th annual Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) All-Star game, which will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Mount de Sales ‘Cavalier Fields’ in Macon. - photo by RAHN HUTCHESON/Special
Bulloch Academy senior James Conner will get to put on his football helmet and strap up his shoulder pads one more time in his high-school career this week.
    He was recently tabbed to play in the 25th annual Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) All-Star game, which will be held Saturday at 1 p.m., at the Mount de Sales ‘Cavalier Fields’ in Macon.
    Conner, the 18-year old son of Dwayne and Barbara Conner, will play on the 30-member, all-classification “Red” All-Star team, which will face off against the 30 players of the “Blue” All-Star team. A 6-1, 195-pounder, Conner is listed as a linebacker and offensive guard.
    “It’s pretty special,” he said. “I think it’s going to be pretty cool to be playing with and against the best players from all the schools in the GISA. I’m honored to be thought of as one of the best players in the league.”
    Another reason it will be special is because Conner will be playing for his own coaches.
    Bulloch Academy’s Clint Morgan was named the head coach of the “Red” squad while BA assistant coach Wes Cooper was picked as an assistant.
    “The players were nominated by their respective coaches,” said Morgan, who as an assistant All-Star coach last season. “It’s Senior players only. The coaching staff of each All-Star team selects 30 players out of 100 nominations. James led Class AA in tackles this season. He’s been an outstanding high-school football player and he deserves this opportunity.”
    Conner, who was named All-State this past Monday, played for four seasons at Bulloch and started on defense since his sophomore year.
    During his career, he accumulated 165 individual tackles and 149 assists. Conner notched 22 tackles for loss, recovered three fumbles, had two interceptions, two sacks and two punt blocks. He led the team in tackles this season with a total of 131 (77 solo and 54 assists) from his strong-side linebacking spot and was second in his junior year from the weak side.
    He started at center on the offensive line for two seasons and was an extremely effective blocker. Conner even realized every lineman’s dream by getting to run the ball this season and scoring a touchdown.
    For Morgan, being named the head coach of an All-Star team is an honor.
    “Anytime you are selected by your peers, it makes you feel good,” he said. “This is a direct reflection of my entire coaching staff. I had to select a coach from each classification and one coach from my own staff. I would have liked to have taken all of them but between the four coaches, we needed a line coach. Wes has done a great job with our offensive line over the years and he deserves this recognition.”
    According to Morgan, all players reported to Macon. Each team will have eight practices prior to Saturday’s game.
    “I think it’s a great time for rivals to come together and form a team,” said Morgan. “Every year, a lot of lasting friendships are formed during these couple of days.”