Three young men from Fort Osage High School will be playing their last high school football game at 7 tonight, when they line up for the Missouri All-Stars in the 27th annual BeYounion.com Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game.
The game, which is sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association, will be played at Leavenworth High School.
Missouri has not lost a game since 2011 and owns a slim 13-11-1 advantage (with one year’s game being washed out by bad weather).
Fort Osage will be represented by three Class 5 all-state players in linebacker Mason Middleton, center Jan Salmon and nose tackle Otto Ulberg.
They are not the only area players scheduled to play in the game. William Chrisman will send all-state and Examiner All-Area first-team outside linebacker Emori Thomas, while Truman will be represented by All-Area linebacker Caleb Loa.
Blue Springs South will be represented by all-state kicker Nathan Rockwell and All-Area defensive back Jordan Steele, while Lee’s Summit North will have All-Area linebacker Myles Craddock and tight end Jordan Murray.
Ulberg, who will play collegiately at Iowa Western Community College, is the only one among the Fort Osage players who will take his game to the next level.
“In the playoffs, if you lose, you know that is going to be your last game,” said Middleton, who will study engineering at Missouri S&T, “but Thursday’s game is your last high school game, no matter what.
“And for me and Jan, it’s the last time we will ever play football, so it’s going to be very special and very bittersweet. I have played football the last five years with those two guys and I can’t think of a better way to end my football career than by playing one last game with them while representing my state in an all-star game against Kansas.”
Salmon, who will study photography and business at Southeast Missouri State, agrees with his teammate.
“Sadly, it will be my last game, but what a great way to end your high school career,” Salmon said. “Mason and Otto mean so much to me, and so does playing for the Missouri team in this all-star game. We’re all really coming together as a team, too. I noticed it the first practice.
“It didn’t take long for all the all-star players to feel like they were part of an all-star team.”
Ulberg felt the same way, adding, “We really have become a team. It took a couple of practices, but we’re definitely a team now and we’re all so excited about the game. And to share the game with Jan and Mason makes it even better for me. We’re like brothers, and you want to play a big game like this with your brothers.”
Staley coach Phil Lite, who led the Falcons to a 14-0 record and a Class 5 state title last fall, will lead the Missouri team, while Leavenworth coach Mark Littrell will lead the Kansas squad.
“Everyone at Leavenworth has been great to work with,” said Tony Wrisinger, who along with Brian Johnston is the co-executive director of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association. “The past four years we had the game at Blue Springs or Blue Springs South high schools and they bent over backwards to work with us, and we appreciate all they did to make the games so successful.
“Leavenworth has a new facility and really wanted this year’s game and we’re excited to be playing there.”
The game will feature more than 80 of the top seniors from each side of the state line.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students with kids 5 and under free. Tickets will be available at the Leavenworth Stadium box office.