July 06, 2011 Edition

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Walnut Ridge head football coach Larry Treadway (center) and two of his players, Preston Matthews (left) and Dallin Ginn (right) participated in the Arkansas High School All-Star Football Game June 23 at Razorback Stadium on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville. Walnut Ridge coaches Jacob Kersey (left) and Joe Fisher also attended to support the trio. The East won 32-3.
Submitted Photo ~ Susan Johnson

WR well represented in All-Star game

Susan Johnson
Star Herald

To learn how the story ended, one only had to look at the smiles on the faces of Preston Matthews and Dallin Ginn as the buzzer sounded signaling the close of the 56th annual Arkansas High School All-Star Football Game June 23 at the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

It's easy to smile when you just handed your opponent a 32-3 whipping, however the duo's excitement wasn't only due to an East victory.

"It's really been a fun week," Ginn said. "To be able to spend a week practicing and then get out here and play alongside players that are this good is amazing."

It had been 12 years since a Walnut Ridge Bobcat had suited up for the East football squad, when Clay Bibb was selected in 1999. After claiming its first conference title in years, the Bobcats had two players and head coach Larry Treadway represent Walnut Ridge during All-Star Week.

Treadway described All-Star week as one of the greatest experiences of his coaching career and admitted putting together a squad that had never played together in four days was a challenge.

"After that first day of practice, I didn't think we'd even score," Treadway said. "They (West squad) are huge compared to our guys."

The East utilized its speed and quickness, as well as an ability to take advantage of West turnovers and penalties. The West was flagged 10 times, giving up 111 yards, while the East only saw yellow three times for 25 yards.

The East scored its first touchdown with 11:04 left to play in the opening quarter, set up by a fumble recovery on the first play of the game, and again with 1:23 remaining. A field goal with 26 seconds remaining made it a 15-0 East lead at the half. The East would add another field goal at the 6:03 mark to own an 18-0 lead heading into the final quarter.

The West's only score came in the final period, scoring a field goal with 10:07 left to play. The East added a touchdown and extra point with just less than nine minutes remaining and another to set the final score with 1:51 left to play.

"It's been a fun week," said Treadway, who the previous evening had watched as his wife, Diane, a cross-country coach at Batesville Junior and Senior High School, honored as the female coach of the year.

"These kids have had fun," he said. "It's been a great experience - it's been a great week. Our guys (Matthews and Ginn) played well, played a lot of minutes and made big contributions. It's been a great experience for them and that's what it's all about - the kids."

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