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Local athletes take part in all-star games
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Southeast Bulloch running back Chase Walker leaves Johnson defenders in his dust on a 50-yard touchdown run during an Oct. 6 game in Brooklet. Walker is a three-time Region Offensive Player of the Year and is one of seven players from Bulloch County teams invited to play in postseason all-star games.

    Postseason high school football all-star games have been going on over the past couple of months and Bulloch County has been well represented.

Bulloch Academy senior lineman Seth Conner (6’1’’, 200 lbs.) played in the GISA all-star game in Americus, where he represented the Gators as a defensive lineman on the winning blue team

Southeast Bulloch had two players compete in two separate games.  Senior running back Chase Walker played fullback in the Blue/Gray All American game, which was held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.  Offensive lineman Aaron Mikell was selected to the Blitz Border Bowl, which was held in Pooler.

“Both of those players have worked hard in order to get selected to play in those games,” said former Southeast Bulloch coach Steve Pennington. “I feel like they both have the opportunity to play on the next level.”

For Walker (5’8’’, 195 lbs.) who was also named region offensive player of the year for the third straight season, it was an opportunity to showcase his skill on a nationally televised game, as the Blue/Gray game was on ESPN3.

“Chase’s game was more of a recruiting tool,” Pennington said. “There were a lot of college coaches on hand, and I have gotten a few calls about him since he played.”

For Mikell (6’0’’, 305 lbs.) it was another chance to play before a good crowd, and there were collegiate coaches on hand in Pooler as well.

“I’m proud of Aaron as he was selected by some of the coaches he played against during the season,” Pennington said. “He had to have made an impact on them either on the field, or on game film for them to think enough of him to select him for the honor.”

For the Statesboro Blue Devils, a 2-7 record didn''t stop game reps as four players were named to various all-star games.
Senior kicker Caleb Dowden (5’10’’, 160 lbs.) played in the GACA North South all-star game in Warner Robins, while fellow senior running back Tupac Lanier (5’7’’, 170 lbs.) was selected to play in the Blitz Border Bowl in Pooler.

Junior linebacker Chris Hill (6’2’’, 230 lbs.) played in the NUC All American football game in Daytona Beach, while sophomore defensive back Michael Dixon (6’2’’, 180 lbs.) played in the National Sophomore Showcase in Atlanta.

“It says a lot for all of our kids,” said Statesboro coach Jeff Kaiser. “All four of those kids were named to the all region team, with Tupac being named the region athlete of the year. We didn’t lobby for them they were selected on their own merit.”

For Lanier and Dowden national signing day is quickly approaching, and Kaiser feels they both have decisions to be made, while Hill and Dixon still have time to improve their games and their collegiate opportunities.

“With Michael and Chris there is still plenty of time for growth,” Kaiser said. “For Tupac and Caleb I know there are opportunities out there for them.  Right now it’s just a matter of them deciding what direction they want to go.”

Kaiser is hoping another year of conditioning and Spring football will help the Blue Devils football program continue to grow into his vision.

“The kids are currently working hard in the weight room,” Kaiser said. “We have all of our guys in a weight class during the day. They seem to be one hundred percent bought in, and our making improvements day to day.”

For the Southeast Bulloch football program coach Steve Pennington has officially retired, and a press conference to name the new head football coach is expected next Wednesday.