It is the end of July — the hottest part of summer — and players are taking the field at Union Tuttle Stadium in Tulsa. The teams are the East and West, made up of the very best Oklahoma football has to offer.
Each player is drenched in sweat, but they are from Oklahoma and it is something they have grown use to. Each player has worked the absolute hardest to make it to this point. This game for them is what the National Football League’s Pro Bowl is to professional football players. This is the place where they get to team up with players from around the state who have just as impressive resumes as they do. This is the Oklahoma All-State football game.
That will be the scene a little over one week from now when the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State Games begin in Tulsa on July 23-29.
These games are the culmination of exceptional high school sports careers. Athletes participating in these games have separated themselves from the rest of the pack and risen to the top. They have let it all out on the field, court or mat, and have been instrumental in their own team’s success.
It will be a time to celebrate those achievements and sit back and watch these athletes do what they do best.
The Altus Bulldog football team had two players selected to participate.
Jayden Benway, who did so much for the Bulldog football team in his time at Altus High School, will do just as much for the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Rangers when he takes the field. He has proven time and time again that he is an athlete with tremendous ability and he has all the necessary tools needed to be successful on and off the football field.
Taven Birdow was also selected to the team but will not be able to participate. Birdow — who signed with the Air Force — is currently attending basic training. The Offensive Player of the Year’s knowledge and skill will be missed on the field for the West team, but he is deserving of the recognition of having been selected.
Selected as the West team’s coach is former Bulldog Head Coach and Coach of the Year Jeremy Reed. Benway will be reunited with his former coach for one last game before Benway heads off to college and Reed heads off to his new team in Arkansas.
The football game will kick-off 7 p.m. July 29 with pre-game festivities beginning at 6:15 p.m.
Football is not the only sport being represented at the All-State Games.
Two-time 126-pound state champion and University of Wyoming wrestling Montorie Bridges will represent Altus on the mat 7 p.m. July 27 at Sapulpa High School in Sapulpa.
Back-to-back state champion swimmers Daniel Brown and Walker Sacco will represent Altus in the pool 6:30 p.m. July 25 at Jenks High School.
The Bulldog’s fastest runner in cross-country, Alan Ortiz, is an All-State selection in his sport.
Cletus B. Street Award winner Kali Tovar represented Altus in girl’s soccer for the West team June 10. The West and the East finished the game in a 1-1 tie.
Victor Cuellar represented Altus in boy’s soccer for the West team June 10. The West beat the East 4-0 in a game that showcased the best high school soccer players in the state.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.