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County all-star game settling into its own

Over its first three years, the Rivalries of Gwinnett All-Star Game has undergone several changes in the format and the way the game and surrounding events operate.

With the fourth edition of the game kicking off this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. at Mountain View Community Stadium, everything is relatively stable for the first time.

COUNTY ALL-STAR GAME

What: Rivalries of Gwinnett All-Star Game

When: Today, 1:30 p.m.

Where: Mountain View High School

Rosters for today’s Rivalries of Gwinnett All-Star Game, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Mountain View:

Maloof-Cline Team

No. Name Pos. High school

10 Kent Rollins QB South Gwinnett

11 Christian Davila QB Hebron

12 Demetrius Alston TE Norcross

14 Xavier Walker DB Duluth

15 Eric Barr DB Buford

16 Aaron Wimberly RB South Gwinnett

17 Cameron Olds DB Central Gwinnett

18 Justin Watts DB Peachtree Ridge

20 Trevon Walker RB/DB South Gwinnett

21 Tyler Cierski RB Mill Creek

22 Dubem Nwadiogbu RB Peachtree Ridge

23 Joe Anderson RB Parkview

24 Charlie Rhea P Norcross

25 Matt Herman LB Mountain View

30 Angelo Watley LB Peachtree Ridge

40 Seth Hinsley LB Norcross

41 Tanner Botts TE/DE Peachtree Ridge

42 John McWilliams LB Norcross

43 Kenny Flowers LB/TE Parkview

44 Silverberry Mouhon LB Norcross

48 Tyler Botts TE/DE Peachtree Ridge

50 Austin Hagan OL Mill Creek

51 Joe Hillin OL South Gwinnett

52 Jonathan Crowder OL Central Gwinnett

53 Ben Bradley OL Norcross

61 Jonathan Moore OL Meadowcreek

63 Jordan Trahan OL Peachtree Ridge

64 Keith Hegger OL Meadowcreek

65 Richard Shankle OL South Gwinnett

70 Walter McGriff OL Parkview

71 Clayton Truitt OL Parkview

72 Austin Thompson OL Mill Creek

80 Alec McGehee WR Duluth

81 Kevin Gary WR South Gwinnett

82 Devonte Lewis WR Mill Creek

83 Ozzie Exume WR Central Gwinnett

Head coach: Keith Maloof, Norcross

Honorary head coach: Todd Cline, Gwinnett Daily Post

Assistant coaches: John Small, South Gwinnett; Bill Ballard, Peachtree Ridge; Jess Simpson, Buford; Brian Smith, Hebron; Cecil Flowe, Parkview; Shannon Jarvis, Mill Creek; Corey Jarvis, Duluth; Todd Wofford, Central Gwinnett; Deario Grimmage, Meadowcreek; Tim Hardy, Mountain View

Managers/trainers: Sarah Bailey, Eboni Skerrit, Brandi Harper, Terry Turner

Conn-Hammock Team

No. Name Pos. High school

10 C.J. Uzomah QB/WR North Gwinnett

11 Justyn Shackelford WR Berkmar

12 Taylor Heinicke QB Collins Hill

14 Dexter Walker DB Dacula

15 Camen Marshall DB Grayson

16 Derrick Butts DB Shiloh

17 Nick Moore DB Brookwood

18 Dayton Overstreet DB North Gwinnett

20 David Harber RB GAC

21 Denzel Nkemdiche RB Grayson

22 Sam Muse RB Shiloh

23 Mychael Hines RB Archer

24 Matt Carothers K GAC

25 Erick Yang K Brookwood

30 Rashaud Lewis DB Berkmar

40 Travis Parker LB Collins Hill

41 Brandon McGowan LB North Gwinnett

42 Michael Peek LB Grayson

43 Wesley Washington LB Shiloh

44 Josh Payne DB Dacula

48 Wilson Hudgins TE Grayson

50 Matt Pogue OL Dacula

51 Garrett Clark OL North Gwinnett

53 Manrey Saint-Armour OL North Gwinnett

60 Nnamdi Ofodile DL Grayson

61 Jake Banta DL Collins Hill

62 Joshua Williams DL Shiloh

63 Michael Young DL Grayson

64 Brinson Porter DL Wesleyan

65 Kevin Brou DL Wesleyan

70 Lawson Hale OL Brookwood

71 Josh Wilson OL Grayson

73 Jordan Pope OL Wesleyan

80 Xaviir Briggs WR Berkmar

81 Kitaro Lewis WR North Gwinnett

82 Jeff Glover WR Collins Hill

83 Zay Howard WR Collins Hill

Head coach: Mickey Conn, Grayson

Honorary head coach: Will Hammock, Gwinnett Daily Post

Assistant coaches: Andy Dyer, Archer; Franklin Pridgen, Wesleyan; Tim Cokely, GAC; Jonathan Sanks, Berkmar; Kevin Reach, Collins Hill; Bob Sphire, North Gwinnett; John Thompson, Dacula; Phillip Hale, Shiloh; Billy Wells, Lanier; Mark Crews, Brookwood

Managers/trainers: Larry Grizzle, Eddie Knox

“This is the fourth year we’ve had this (game), and I think things are moving a little smoother this year.” said Norcross coach Keith Maloof, who will serve as head coach of one of the two teams, along with honorary coach and Daily Post editor Todd Cline. “The coaches know what to do now, and the players are getting better and better.”

As with the past three games, there will be no shortage of talent on the field with 73 of Gwinnett’s top seniors divided up into two teams.

While this game is a fun privilege for the participants, the players and coaches are competitive enough that winning is important to them.

Being able to do so will depend on which team is best able to mesh the talents of players with the coaching styles of the coaching staffs.

That may be particularly the case with the two teams’ offenses, which feature some of county’s most productive players this season.

On the surface, that may seem a challenge for Team Mickey Conn.

That team’s offense, which features several players that came from wide-open spread offenses like Gwinnett passing record holder Taylor Heinicke of Collins Hill and multi-talented Auburn commitment C.J. Uzomah of North Gwinnett, plus receivers Jeff Glover and Zay Howard of Collins Hill and Justyn Shackelford of Berkmar, seems mismatched with the Grayson head coach, whose Rams offense operates out of the more run-based wing-T.

But as Conn points out, many of his assistant coaches — including Archer head coach Andy Dyer, who will serve as the team’s offensive coordinator, plus North’s Bob Spire, Collins Hill’s Kevin Reach and Wesleyan’s Franklin Pridgen — run a variety of different sets.

“I think I’m the only wing-T guy here,” joked Conn, who will be joined on the sideline by another honorary coach, Daily Post sports editor Will Hammock. “But we’ve got a good mix of players and coaches. ... It’s an all-star game. We ought to be good at whatever we want to do.”

That also goes for the Team Keith Maloof offense, which features excellent two-way threats at quarterback in South Gwinnett’s Kent Rollins and Hebron Christian’s Christian Davila, as well as twin threats in the other skill positions like South’s Aaron Wimberly and Trevon Walker, Tyler Cierski and Devonte Lewis of Mill Creek and Ozzie Exume of Central Gwinnett.

However, the abundance of talent in the skill positions doesn’t mean the offenses will dominate.

Both defenses are also stacked with talent. Division I prospects like Norcross’ Demetrius Alston and Silverberry Mouhon, Peachtree Ridge’s Tanner Botts and Angelo Watley, Eric Barr of Class AA state champion Buford and Xavier Walker of Duluth are among Team Maloof’s standouts. Defensive back Nick Moore of recently crowned Class AAAAA state champion Brookwood, as well as Michael Peek and Denzel Nkemdiche from Grayson’s stubborn defense highlight the Team Conn roster.

“There’s all sorts of talent last year, too, but the game wound up 7-3,” recalled Maloof. “Plus, it’s hard to put in a whole offense and defense in just one week, but these kids come game ready. There’s not much physical stuff you have to do.

“(But) the fun thing for these kids is they get to meet kids they’ve competed against for a long time, and now they get a chance to play together.”

Conn agrees the friendships built between the players and coaches has been the most fun aspect of practice leading up to the game.

“The neat thing has been as competitive as these kids are, they come out here and really get to know each other quickly,” Conn said. “I’ve really been impressed with the camaraderie with the players and coaches.”