No lazy, crazy days of summer yet for Dante Madden. He’s got some work to do.
Madden has been putting in some time this week on the football field at Oak Park High School getting ready to play in the 27th annual BeYounion.com Kansas vs. Missouri All Star Game, which takes place June 14 at Leavenworth High School. The running back from Belton was picked to play for Missouri against a team of all-stars from Kansas.
Not only is it an honor, but Madden also sees it as a better use for some of his post-high school down time.
“I’m training right now, but this is like more training and more conditioning,” Madden said. “And it’s better for me to get out there and do some stuff instead of staying at home playing video games all day. So it’s a great way to stay in shape.”
Madden would still be working out even if he hadn’t picked to play for Missouri. He needs to stay in shape to play this coming fall at Wayne State in Nebraska, where he’s headed after a standout senior year with the Pirates.
Madden, 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, was the leading rusher for Belton his senior year, which helped him land first-team honors in the Suburban Blue Conference. He played a major role in a high-scoring offense that propelled the Pirates to a 7-5 season record and a second-straight appearance in the Class 5 District 6 final.
His senior season ended the same way his junior season did, with a loss at Columbia Battle. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in last season’s 44-21 loss and totaled six kickoff TDs for the season.
“We had our struggles; we had our ups and downs,” Madden said of his senior season. “I’m sure we could have done better and fixed some things, but it is what it is.”
A chance at some extra reps wasn’t the only incentive to get Madden on the Missouri team. Football is his passion, and he couldn’t pass up the chance to compete in one last high school game.
“I love the game and the competition,” Madden said. “I heard about the competition in the all-star game. It’s a lot of competition and that’s what I’m about, really.”
Madden will be competing for a Missouri team seeking an eighth-straight win in the series presented by the Greater Kansas City High School Football Coaches Association. That streak has given the Show-Me State a 14-11 lead all-time, including one cancellation.
That also has Madden pumped up to play, even though it didn’t initially.
“It’s a big deal for me,” Madden said. “I didn’t think it was a big deal at first but after hearing all the coaches talking to me about it … it just hit me in my heart.”
Belton wide receiver Jaden Clark was also selected to the Missouri team along with two other Cass County players: Harrisonville defensive lineman Nick Kruse and Raymore-Peculiar offensive lineman Zach Starforth. Kruse has been hampered by an injury and may not play while Starforth had to bow out due to an illness in his family.
Phil Lite, the head coach of Class 5 state champion Staley, is the Missouri team’s head coach.