Saturday at Titan Stadium in Oshkosh this past year’s best senior football players will line up one more time in the annual Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-Star games.
Most of the players will move on to play football at some level in college, but there are some who won’t put the pads on again after Saturday.
Connor Rolain and Nate Neveau are two of those players, but they aren’t done competing. Rolain will play baseball at Illinois Chicago, while Neveau will play basketball at Hillsdale College (Mich.).
It would seem a physical game like football would be something their future coaches would not want them to play. However, they got the green light for one more game.
“You know, it’s a little different,” said Neveau, who led Oshkosh North to the Division 2 state title game last season. “A lot of these guys are going on to play football, which is really cool. I’ve been putting in a lot of time for basketball next year and haven’t been doing a lot of football stuff.”
“They just want to make sure that I was in good shape,” said Rolain. “That was the biggest thing, that I didn’t come here out of shape. I’ve been running and lifting, so that hasn’t been an issue. They just wanted to make sure I was in shape so they’re fine with it.”
Rolain was voted the state’s best senior defensive back last season and he said he will play Saturday like it’s a regular game.
“I’m going to approach it the same I approach every game,” he said. “It’s not going to be any different. I’m going to go out there, play as hard as I can hopefully the North squad will will get the ‘w.’”
Neveau, who sometimes played like Johnny Manziel with his ability to escape and make big plays, led his team to 13 straight wins last season before losing the title game to Kimberly. He’s going to play wide receiver in the game and said it was a little different putting pads on again.
“Kind of cool to just throw them one more time,” Neveau said. “This is just one last experience. I’m looking forward to it.”
Rolain, a quality player in his own right, has discovered there is a common theme being around all-star players.
“All these guys are all-state, players of the year in the conference or the state even,” he noted. “You really can tell these guys just didn’t wake up one day and become real good football players. Everyone here is working hard.”
Neveau has been working hard, too, on dribbling and shooting 3-pointers. He said it took a little time to become a football player again.
“Took a couple catches to get used to it again, but right back in it,” Neveau said. “Just having fun.”
Come Saturday, you can bet Rolain and Neveau will have fun. Why not, it’s their last football game.
at Titan Stadium
Noon: Small School All-Star Game.
5 p.m.: Large School All-Star Game.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay