Area football players seeing double duty this summer

Eight area players in two local all-star games

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – There are typically three high school sports seasons, fall, winter, and spring. But for some area athletes, summer is also all-star football season.

On Thursday, June 15th the Jack Arvin game in Hubbard will feature Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana County all-stars, while the Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic is set for June 29th at Geneva College, and will include a large number of Columbiana County standout players.

Some of these all-stars athletes are making a summer of it as they will participate in both games. Included in this group are Lisbon’s, Colin Sweeney, Bailey McCullough, and Jacob Liberati, Columbiana’s Keenan Green, Wellsville’s Michael Shope and Brazen Grodhaus, Sebring’s Nate Martin, and United’s Colton Bowen.

“I have work too, and I’m getting ready for Baldwin-Wallace, workouts, and everything,” Liberati explained of his busy summer. “And playing in the Jack Arvin, I just love it. Football and work, that’s about it,” Liberati said with a chuckle.

Jacob is following in his older brother’s footsteps as Josh Liberati played in both games last year. “I got this call about two weeks ago and I was excited because Josh played in it last year.”

“I was asked to play in the Penn-Ohio game a couple months ago because of Coach T (Tsilimos) and everything. He picked me, Jason Thompson, Colin (Sweeney), Bailey (McCullough), and David (Toot) too now,” Liberati explained about being picked for the Penn-Ohio game.

Ironically, in the Jack Arvin game, Liberati and his teammates will play for the coach of Lisbon’s biggest rival in Michael Demster of the United Eagles, “He’s a great guy. He has a lot of football knowledge and everything. He’s doing really good things with United. He’s coaching us up, so that’s good.”

“It’s a pretty big honor,” Sebring’s Nate Martin remarked on being named to both all-star squads. “You don’t really get the opportunity to get to play in two big games where there is going to be a lot of people. I mean you need to take the opportunity if it comes, and that’s what I did.”

Although Martin doesn’t have any experience playing for coach Tsilimos, he has enjoyed the learning opportunity with coach Demster, “It’s a lot of fun. He’s showing me new things I didn’t know. It’s a new experience because I’m getting to play under a different coach that has different techniques and things.”

“I didn’t find out till late,” Wellsville’s Michael Shope said on being named as a replacement player on the Jack Arvin roster. “I was supposed to go to my brothers for the summer to help him out at a shop he just opened. So to get a chance to play football is nice. It’ll get me in shape better for college ball.”

“It’s nice, different,” Shope added playing for a different coach. “He’s a very up-tempo coach. It’s very different, very different.”

All the players participating in both games will have very little recovery time as they will play the Jack Arvin Game this Thursday and start practice for the Penn-Ohio game on Monday. Those playing at the next level will get just a short break before summer conditioning and practice starts for their respective college or university.

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