Five things to watch Missouri-Kansas all-star high school football game

06/17/2014 7:25 PM

06/19/2014 12:22 PM

1. Missouri rushers

The Missouri all-star team always features a slew of talented running backs. This year’s squad includes Fort Osage’s Ezra Vaoifi, who surpassed 2,000 rushing yards while totaling 25 touchdowns last fall; Excelsior Springs’ Nick Masoner, who scored 23 touchdowns as a senior; Lee’s Summit North’s Josh Caldwell, who rushed for at least 700 yards in three straight seasons and topped 1,000 yards as a senior; and Harrisonville back Mason Saffels, who ran for seven touchdowns in his senior season.

2. Undersized but effective

The Missouri roster includes eight defensive backs, though none of them are noted for their stature. Staley’s Jackson Newman and William Chrisman’s Brett Wolf are the tallest among the group at 6 feet tall.

But they still manage to get the job done. Newman, Liberty’s Ervin Leonard and Park Hill South’s Bryan Robinson were all-state selections last fall.

Blue Springs’ Antwon President, Raymore-Peculiar’s Marcus Zweifel, Lee’s Summit’s Jonathan Gilkey and Fort Osage’s Tyler Titus will also line up in Missouri’s defensive backfield.

3. Kansas on the ground

The Kansas squad features powerful running backs in Blue Valley’s Chance Nelson, Leavenworth’s Jason Randall and Lansing’s Hector Porter. Nelson, who could be paired with Tigers’ teammate Logan Brettell, had 1,725 yards and 18 touchdowns this year. Randall led the Sunflower League with 1,370 yards.

4. Connections on the Kansas offensive line

There are two sets of former teammates on the Kansas offensive line, which could aid in the cohesiveness of the rushing attack. Blue Valley will be represented by Markus Zimmerman and Blake Freeman, who are both headed to Central Missouri. Blue Valley Northwest’s Kyle Styve and Christian Atteberry will join them.

5. Missouri has a chance to tie the series

Since the game was started in 1992, Kansas holds a narrow 11-10 lead in the overall series. However, Missouri has been victorious in three consecutive games and has won four of the last five. Missouri won 36-8 last year.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com.

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