Three Hendricks County football players will step onto the gridiron for the last time in their high school careers this Friday. For almost all but a very small percentage that were chosen to participate in the Grange Insurance North/South All-Star football game, their time as high school football players is over.
But for the county trio of Avon’s Lance Magee, Brownsburg’s Isaac Beverstock, and Tri-West’s Brian Jones, they get another opportunity to suit up for the South squad. Practice began for both the North and South teams on Monday at the University of Indianapolis.
Magee, who is headed to Parkland College in Champaign, Ill., to play basketball, said the experience is “bittersweet.”
“We’ve all talked about the glory days and all of the memories that we had playing against one another,” Magee said of his interactions with the other players. “Most of us have played each other at some time and it’s been a crazy experience so far. For the most part, some of these guys are the ones we hated, like your worst enemy, and that is because they were the best players on their teams.”
Magee said he would miss football, but basketball has always been his first love as he played the AAU circuit in the summers. He plans to study graphic design while at Parkland.
Magee will play defensive back on Friday, but will also have the opportunity to return some kicks and punts.
“Getting to meet all the different players from all of the classes and seeing all of the talent levels has been a great experience,” he said.
Most rivalries are washed over at this annual weeklong camp that has players from a multitude of schools, but others seem to still burn with some intensity even though each player has graduated from their respective alma maters.
One tradition each year is for the players to trade helmet stickers of their schools’ emblems or mascots with other participants in the air of good sportsmanship and camaraderie.
At least most of them do.
“The Oriole and the Bulldog stickers just do not belong on the same helmet,” Beverstock said with a chuckle. “I respect Lance and he is a great player, but the sticker just does not go. It’s really cool to come out and see the quality of competition out here.”
Beverstock is headed to Indiana State after a great senior season rushing the ball for the Bulldogs and will continue to play football for the Sycamores. He reports to camp in Terre Haute on Aug. 2 and is using this time as a bit of a precursor for that.
“This just put me in football mode and that is what this week has been for,” he said. “They have a great program down there and I liked what I saw. They stress the brotherhood factor of the game and I really liked that.”
Beverstock said he plans to study sports management and business while at ISU and will get the opportunity to run the ball a few more times in his high school career for his South team.
Coming from a smaller school, Jones is now playing with some of the top-caliber players in the state and the experience has opened his eyes some. The disparity between offensive and defensive lineman’s talents through the classes has become obvious for him.
“It’s harder than what I’m used to,” Jones said. “With all of the new guys, they go hard and go hard every time. Keeping up with them is a little tough. I’m playing with 5A guys that seem better at their jobs and seem like they know what’s going on.”
For Jones, this will be the last time he straps on a helmet and shoulder pads in his defensive line position as he said his future plans include joining the U.S. Marine Corps.
“Just that I can play another high school game means a lot to me,” Jones said. “When my last game at Tri-West was over, I thought I was done forever and I’d never have this feeling again. I have another chance to make a mark and I can leave on a good note.”
All three said the camaraderie between the players has been fun and that pool, ping pong, trips to the store, and card games fill their time when there are no practices, meetings, or meal times to attend.
The trio take the field for the last time at 7 p.m. Friday at North Central High School.