Four football players represented Camdenton High School during the 14th Annual Sertoma Grin Iron Classic Friday in Springfield.
Defensive end Alexx Wilsman (Pittsburg State University), running back Josh Martin (Central Methodist University) and offensive linemen C.J. Santon (Quincy University) and Henry Brownell (Truman State University) wore their purple helmets for the East team in the contest.
The exhibition game brings together some of the top football talent in Southwestern Missouri with proceeds going towards the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, better known as the “Tooth Truck,” which provides dental treatment and education to people without access to proper care.
The Grin Iron Classic rosters are made up of exceptional senior football players from Camdenton to Joplin and everywhere in between. Most of them will play at the collegiate level, including all four of the Laker players, and it serves as an end of season all-star game of sorts.
Unfortunately for Camdenton fans, the East team lost in a blowout 27-0, in a slow game that, aside from a few long runs by West’s Kenyan Scheurich of Carl Junction, highlighted the defense.
“It’s weird because you have one week to prepare for this game with a group of guys you’ve never played with a day in your life,” Wilsman said. “When we’re in high school, in a regular season, we’re playing with guys that we’ve played with in fourth grade on up, so you’re used to how everyone plays, so you can play together in sync.”
For the most part, the teams played with a bit of rust and unfamiliarity. The East team’s offense had multiple fumbled snaps, bad handoffs and turnovers, but for Brownell, this game wasn’t about winning, it was a taste of what is to come in the next few months as they go to their first practices at their respective universities.
“It’s like an appetizer for what we’re getting in college,” he said. “Getting to know people, learning those skills and just getting to the intensity that we’re going to be playing at the next level,”
“It’s always fun playing with a different group of guys,” he said. “It kind of gets you ready for the next level. You’re going to be thrown into the wolves and you’ve got to work your way to the top and form that relationship with other people.”
However, this week, that meant forming relationships with possible rivals and enemies that have stared him down in previous games when he played for Camdenton.
“I hold a grudge,” Santon said. “If I see someone who crosses the line for me, who talks smack or gets in my grill, I want revenge … Then you come back and you’re on the same team as that guy, you have to throw everything away. You’re on the same team. You’re fighting together.”
Now Santon and the rest, plan on taking these experiences, their last as high school football players, into the college level.