A new six-man all-star game looks to infuse passion and rivalry into the summer six-man scene.
The red-hot rivalries between public and private schools in Texas burn brighter every year, bringing about new games for the best players to duke it out for bragging rights for decades to come.
That is the backdrop for the first Texas Bowl Shoot-out in Zephyr, where wind energy receipts have helped build primetime athletic facilities and where nearly 100 all-star players will compete July 12-13.
Richland Springs coach Jerry Burkhart is assembling the vast new program, with the assistance of coaches from around Texas and Howard Payne University in nearby Brownwood. All-star players will report to practice at Howard Payne on July 10 and reside in school dorms.
Public vs. private girls and boys basketball games will be played in Zephyr on July 12, with the All-Star public vs. private six-man football game played July 13 at 7:30 p.m.
“We think this is a terrific opportunity for us to give our kids one more chance to play high school sports, showcase their abilities, and give our basketball and football programs greater exposure closer to the I-35 corridor,” said Burkhart, whose Richland Springs Coyotes just finished winning their third straight Six-Man Division II state championship. “The competition is tough in every district across Texas for all-star spots. This will give some kids a chance to play who might have not been selected before.”
Zephyr has become a popular playoff spot for UIL six-man football games and other big-time athletic events. With the power of wind energy proceeds, Zephyr ISD has built an athletic oasis in the plains near the exact geographic center of Texas. Traffic zooms by its fabulous facilities on US Highway 183 headed south to Austin or northbound to prime six-man country, allowing for quick and easy access for athletes and coaches.
In the six-man all-star football game, Dallas Covenant’s Brice Helton and Austin Hill Country’s Phillip Hudgens will coach the private school players, while Shawn Rogers of Richland Springs and Mike Reed of Throckmorton will coach the public school team. Each side will pick a 17-player roster from anywhere in the state. The all-star player must be a high school graduate as of this upcoming diploma season in May.
“Small-school Texas all-star games have evolved over the years and we think this latest version will reach more fans, involve more athletes and provide great fun and fellowship for everybody,” Burkhart said.
In years past, all-star games have been played in Garden City between Texas six-man public schools, and Texas stars have even taken on six-man athletes from around the U.S. and Canada.
Public vs. private adds a brand new twist to a sport where smaller teams do not mean smaller skill.
“We think the private versus public school competition is going draw get interest from small towns and the big cities and get new rivalries going,” Burkhart said.
Current media plans call for the six-man all-star football game to be carried live on radio and streamed online.
Ken Capps is a special contributor to Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.