Jul 22, 2011
There aren't many people in the world that can call themselves an all-star.
This week, a handful of some of the state's top athletes from the Class of 2011 gathered in Greensboro to participate in the N.C. Coaches Association's East-West All-Star Games.
That handful of players will always be able to call themselves all-stars.
What's it like? How do you get there? Do you set a goal to play in the game? These are all questions players coming through high schools across the state may ask themselves. We decided to ask those players who played in the game.
Panther Creek wide receiver Isaiah Johnson and Harnett Central running back Jarrod Spears were both selected to play in the 2011 NCCA East-West All-Star Football Game on July 20. Both players agreed to answer a few questions about their experience.
Nick: Going into your senior year, every player knows it is his last year playing high school football. Players and teams set many goals, was one of your goals to play in the East-West games?
Isaiah: Going into my senior year it was not a goal to make this game because I was determined to stay focused on winning a championship with my team.
Jarrod: Yes, because making the all-star game would allow me to play another high school game before I proceed to the next level and showcase my talents against other North Carolina athletes.
Nick: Getting the news that you had been selected to the game had to be exciting. What was your reaction when you found out?
Isaiah: When I found out I was selected I was very excited, and the first thing I told my parents was, "I'm an all-star," with a big smile on my face.
Jarrod: I was excited because I was recognized as one of the top athletes in the state.
Nick: Obviously there are probably some high school players out there who would like to play in a future all-star games. For rising seniors who may have that goal, what advice would you give them?
Isaiah: I would tell them the most important factor they should worry about is staying on top of their grades because football will be there if they continue to push themselves, but working hard in the classroom will open up bigger opportunities.
Jarrod: My advice to those guys is to work hard and stay focused, not only on the field, but off the field as well.
Nick: A lot of people know about the actual all-star game that takes place, but you're there a whole week. What was the week like? What should future all-stars expect when they go to Greensboro?
Isaiah: The week was great and very enjoyable. Future all-stars should expect to compete and to go out and have fun with the other players.
Jarrod: It was a great experience in Greensboro. I got to meet a lot of new people. We ate a one of food from Golden Corral, and we practiced hard.
Nick: You hear people say to take time to enjoy the moment when you're in a big game. Did you have a chance to take a step back and think about the fact that you were actually playing in an all-star game?
Isaiah: Yes. While I was practicing on the third day it actually hit me that I am considered an all-star. Throughout the rest of the week I was treated like one. I signed autographs, took pictures, and had some fun trips.
Jarrod: No, it felt more like a championship game. It was a big crowd and all the athletes were playing hard with everything they had.
Nick: I'm sure all-star week was a great experience. What will you take away from it now that it's over?
Isaiah: The biggest thing I would take away from my experience at all-star week is to remember to stay humble, and no matter what type of glory or accolades I get, staying humble will allow me to go further.
Jarrod: Probably meeting all the new people I met and the free food.
Nick: Isaiah. If you could use only one word to describe all-star week, what would that word be?
Nick: Jarrod. You had quite a high school career - moving up from 3-A to 4-A, and in your first year in 4-A going to the state championship game. You were an all-area selection two straight years. Now that it is officially over, how do you feel about your high school career in general?
Jarrod: My high school career was a great experience. If I could go back, I would.