Four locals to compete in All-Star Week
The Alabama All-Stars Sports Week is a chance for top-notch high school players across different sports to get another chance to both play the sport they love and show off their schools before a new audience.
All-Star week is held from July 15 through July 18 in Montgomery this time around, and several local residents have competed in the events in the past.
This year Franklin County has four locals that will be participating in the events. Former Russellville Golden Tiger Bud Coleman will represent his team in the North/South All-Star football game at the Cramton Bowl on July 18 at 7 p.m.
“I was very excited for our team and for Bud,” Russellville head coach Michael Jackson said.
“He has worked extremely hard and put himself in a position where he can play in this game.
“He’s going to fit right in on that field, and it’s the next step for him before he gets into college. We’re just excited that he gets to represent Russellville in the all-star game.”
Coleman was primarily a defensive player at linebacker for Russellville, but he had duties on the other side of the ball as well.
“He was a top player.” Jackson said. “He could play on both sides of the ball, and he was very instrumental on both sides.
“He played on defense the majority of the time, and what he brought to our offense was exceptional with his running ability and being able to catch the ball, too.”
As far as Coach Jackson is concerned, Coleman will have no problems adjusting to this new level of competition.
“I think he will do exceptionally well,” he said. “He has prepared himself.
“He has been working hard since the season was over to get better and faster, and I think he’s done a great job of that. I think it’s another step for him to get to UNA in the fall.”
Coleman will not be the only familiar face associated with this game, however. Red Bay head football coach John Ritter will be one of the assistant coaches for the North team, and he will get to instruct his former player Matt Belue one last time.
“That’s the neat thing about coaching that week,” Ritter said.
“Matt is a special player, and I had the opportunity to be his position coach on offense, and it’s kind of like our last hoorah together as player and coach.
“Him being part of the senior class of my first year as a head coach is a special thing, and it will be great to get to coach him one last time.”
Much like Jackson, Ritter knows his former player can rise to the occasion of playing in the all-star game.
“I think he will do well. Matt’s a winner,” he said.
“He’s going to go out there and do everything he is asked to do and everything he is told to do.
“He’s the type of player you want to coach, because he’s a ’yes, sir’ type of guy. If you ask him to play left tackle, he’s going to play left tackle; he’s a very coachable kid.
“We’re going to play him at tight end and H-back much like Northwest is going to play him when he gets there.”
Three of the local participants in All-Star Week may be in football, but they are not the only ones that will represent a school in Franklin County.
Kasey Sparks, a member of the Red Bay Lady Tigers’ basketball team, will play in the girls’ basketball all-star game at the Alabama State University Acadome July 17 at 6 p.m.
Sparks has been a key player on head coach Donnie Roberts’ past two teams, and given her experience in the playoffs at Red Bay, her coach knows she can handle the responsibility.
“I feel really good every time one of my players makes the all-star game because of the work they have done, the improvements they have made and the way they have played here for us at Red Bay,” he said.
“I think she’ll do fine. Those all-star games have about 15 players per team, and the rules are that each player has to play at least six minutes.
“There will be a lot of other good players out there, but I think Kasey will hold her own out there and do a good job.
“She’s going to be playing in the post, and they have some other good post players there. The north squad is really loaded.”