Newton-Conover senior Jake Walker will play his last high school football game with teammate Jervasse Moss after being selected to the 64th annual North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star game.
Walker was thrilled when he learned of his selection.
“I was excited because it was one of my goals that I set at the beginning of the year,” Walker said. “I wanted to strive to get better, on and off the field, that way in the end I could achieve my goal of playing college ball and becoming an all-star, either through the Shrine Bowl or East-West game.”
Walker’s selection marks the second time in Newton-Conover history that the school sends two players to the game.
In 1957, Marshall McRae and Tim Cloninger made all-star game appearances.
“That’s incredible,” said N-C coach Nick Bazzle. “To have two players from the same school is an honor. There is no doubt about that. I was able to put together some cut-ups on both of those kids. Apparently the films we sent over to watch were good enough to set those guys above the rest of them.”
Walker, a 6-foot, 245-pound offensive lineman, started every game at center for the Red Devils the past two seasons, earning All-Catawba Valley 2A honors both seasons.
In 2011, Walker recorded 25 pancake blocks, while grading out at 75 percent or higher.
Walker, Moss and eight seniors led the Red Devils to a 5-7 record, giving the school and team its seventh-straight playoff appearance.
Bazzle said the selection of his two seniors brings a bright spot to a tough year on the gridiron.
“You wonder how in the world are we going to have two representatives on the East-West All-Star team when you’ve only won five ball games,” Bazzle said. “Sometimes in the course of a season like that you don’t have a lot of wins, but a lot of times there are players that get overshadowed by the outcome of the season. Sometimes you don’t recognize those good players until you look at them individually. That’s what these guys were able to do through their film.”
Walker’s college choice has yet to be made. He is deciding between Lenoir-Rhyne and Carson-Newman.
If he chooses the Eagles, Walker would once again be reunited with Moss, who has already received an offer, but choosing L-R could make the two teammates future gridiron rivals.
“If it works out that way where we get to go to Carson-Newman together, that would be great,” Walker said. “It’s a good distance away, but we could still be there for each other. We’ve been friends for so long that we could continue to help each other out, while working and striving for success to achieve what goals we set. If I decide to go to L-R, I wish him the best of luck. It would be fun to play against one another.”
While college plans are in the future, the two seniors, who have played together since pee-wee league, will take the field for their final game together on July 18 in Greensboro.
“I never thought we’d both get to play in the all-star game,” Walker said. “It’s very special because Jervassse is a very good friend I’ve grown up with. There is no one else to be playing the game together with.”