Leader Blues

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

SPORTS >> All Stars relish experience

BY RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

IN SHORT: Sylvan Hills duo Raefe Jenkins and T.J. Fenton excel during the annual football classic in Razorback Stadium.

What was supposed to be five local players battling for the East squad in the 2006 All-Star football game last Friday turned into just three, and one of those got in on one play. Searcy place kicker Tanner Gibbs scored the East’s only points with a field goal midway through the fourth quarter.

Sylvan Hills Bears Raefe Jenkins and T.J. Fenton started and played almost the entire game for the East team. Jenkins played tight end and carried every other play into the huddle from the sideline, working closely with legendary coach Frank McClellan, who was coaching his final game after a storied career that included five consecutive state championships in the 80s and 90s, and a national record 65-consecutive victories.

Fenton started at inside linebacker, and played every defensive series except those in the second quarter when the substitutes took the field.

Also invited to the game were Harding Academy quarterback Zach Tribble, and Jacksonville wide receiver Lavar Neely.
Tribble suffered a minor injury during practice on Wednesday, and sat out of the game for precautionary reasons.
Neely left Fayetteville for undisclosed reasons during Tuesday’s practice.

The East struggled to move the ball and suffered a 20-3 loss, but Jenkins and Fenton were still ecstatic after the game.
“This whole week has been awesome,” Jenkins said. “It’s truly been a blessing. God’s blessed me with this opportunity to play here, and make a few new friends and give me an experience that I’ll never forget.”

“It’s been a real good week,” Fenton said. “Coach McClellan, it’s an honor to get to play for him. Being up here with all these D1 prospects, in a big stadium with a hall of fame coach, it’s been great.”

Jenkins was also excited and honored to play for McClellan. Being one of the two signal carriers, Jenkins got closer to the legend than most others at the camp, and was inspired.

“I loved playing for him,” Jenkins said. “His leadership and motivation was awesome. He’s an amazing coach. I wish I could have played for him for him in high school. I just lived too far away.”

Jenkins is headed to North Texas where he’ll continue his football career, while Fenton will play for Southwest Baptist in Missouri.