If there was ever a fine time to get used to the brand-new feeling he'll experience upon suiting up for Colorado Mesa University this fall, the 61st Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games' football game certainly does qualify.
The only Bayfield Wolverine student-athlete chosen for any of the sports to be contested this weekend in Alamosa, now-graduated senior center/nose guard Sam Westbrook will suit up for the South Team against the North at 7:30 p.m. Friday inside Adams State University's Rex Stadium.
Given BHS' past summertime experiences at CSU-Pueblo's team camp, some of the many Pueblo-area faces on the South roster might be familiar, but otherwise about the only player Westbrook would likely remember - from two Class 2A State Playoffs semifinals - will be La Junta running back/linebacker Dax Bender.
Representing the San Luis Valley as South squad members will be Sargent teammates Justin Hacsi and Esteban Aguilera, both of whom recently visited the Pine River Valley for a regular-season-ending baseball doubleheader pitting the 2A Farmers against 3A Bayfield.
Walsenburg John Mall standout running back/linebacker Evan Gonzales - a name familiar locally to Ignacio fans, given that the Bobcats and JMHS Panthers clash in the 1A Southern Peaks Conference-also highlights the South's selected stars from the small-school ranks, along with 1A Rye quarterback/linebacker Kevin Bailey and 1A Paonia tight end/linebacker Trevor Smith.
The Games' official opening ceremonies begin at noon Friday.
IHS ALSO TO BE REPRESENTED: Competing before the All-State Games' football showdown, now-graduated Ignacio Bobcats Ethan Appenzeller and Lorenzo Peña are slated to compete in the showcase wrestling dual, to begin at 2 p.m. inside ASU's Plachy Hall. Either Appenzeller or Peña could have been picked for the football team, as well.
Second place at 145 pounds at the season-ending Class 2A State Championships back in February, Appenzeller went 38-5 overall his senior season while Pena went 37-5 and placed third at 160.
At press time, the list of selected grapplers also included four 3A state champions (Alamosa 113-pounder Isaiah De La Cerda, Gypsum Eagle Valley 138-pounder Noah Hermosillo, Fort Lupton 126-pounder Jody Sandoval II, Gilcrest Valley 145-pounder Aaron Trujillo), three 2A state champions (Norwood 152-pounder Hayden Harris, Rocky Ford 106-pounder Jacob Rodriguez and 132-pounder Cody Venem), and two 4A state champions (Grand Junction Central 170-pounder Erminio "E.J." Barrera, Pueblo County 195-pounder Donavon Rincon).