Jaxon Crawford and Brad Johnson, both graduating seniors from Kit Carson, didn’t know if they were coming or going over the weekend as they hit the road on Saturday morning and traveled to the first-ever 6-Man All-State Football game hosted by Hugo School District, then traveled back home to attend the important retirement party for their long-time coach Jim Trahern on Saturday night, and then back on the road toward Denver on Sunday for the All-State Baseball games.
Between trips Crawford and Johnson picked up other local athletes as they too were a part of one or more of the multiple all-state games going on. Eads had four athletes involved including Fredrick Turner and Caden Parker playing in the 6-Man All-State Football game in Hugo; and Rhett Uhland and Chance Fowler who were highlighted at the All-State Baseball game in Denver. Cheyenne Wells’ Kendall Pelton was on the same road as Crawford and Johnson as he played in both All-State games, as well.
All the area athletes represented the South teams in these All-State games, although the divisions were a little different depending on the sport. In football, the hometown South boys were thoroughly defeated by the North, 64-14. However, the South won a barnburner over the North in baseball, 7-6.
Mr. Mike Miller from Cheyenne Wells was instrumental in organizing this, the first 6-Man All-State game of its kind in Colorado. Since 6-Man’s inception into Colorado in 1988 the All-State games have included a few 6-Man players and a lot of 8-Man players in a game where the smaller schools got little exposure and notice. Of course, the games were different, as well, and more often than not the game would be an 8-Man game format.
The divisions were made at the I70 geographical mark so a great number of the bigger and faster players from teams such as Idalia, Fleming, Flagler-Hi Plains, Peetz, and Stratton were combined to take on the smaller and overall slower group from the South. Garrett Smith and Carlos Huerta from Cheyenne Wells were named the South coaches and they would definitely depend on players from Cheyenne Wells, Kit Carson, and Eads. There were a few more players from further south who would also contribute in spots. However, when looking at the way the 6-Man playoffs went last fall the South was definitely out-manned.
Smith did a good job getting all the players a fair shot at playing time during the what was really an exhibition game. Turner would put in time at the running back position for most of the day. He ran hard and solidly and contributed well to the offensive numbers. Parker played Defense on most downs and also played receiver on occasion working with quarterback Brad Johnson or Jaime Huerta from Cheyenne Wells. Parker would catch one touchdown pass from Huerta late in the game from 17 yards out. Crawford played all over the field on both sides of the ball. He would even be needed at center as no one was on the roster who could really hike the ball. Kit Carson’s Blake Dickey played some fine defense and was also the kicker for the South.
Crawford deservedly was named the South’s Most Valuable Player. Erick Enriquez-Acosta from Idalia was named MVP for the north as the senior scored nearly at will using his superior speed that was on full display at the recent Colorado Track Championships where he became the state champion in the 400M and 800m.
On Sunday, the South was this time victorious in the Senior All-State Baseball game in Denver as they defeated the North, 7-6. Dayne Eaton from Holly was the coach and the bulk of the team consisted of players from Eads, Holly, and Cheyenne Wells. These District 2 players put in a lot of time on the field on Sunday and were there when it was time for the South to pull out the win. Players from the Eads/Kit Carson team who played in Denver were Chance Fowler, Rhett Uhland, Crawford, and Johnson. Coach Dayne Eaton said he greatly enjoyed working with these boys, most who had played together and against each other since they were in pee-wee all-stars in summer ball.