Graduates gear up for All-State Games at UNC |

Graduates gear up for All-State Games at UNC

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GREELEY, Colorado ” Hazen Moss cheered on teammate Tyler Thompson at last year’s Colorado High School Coaches Association all-state football game. This year, he’ll have teammates in the stands cheering him on.

“Yeah, I think [former coach Damon Wells] and a few players and other coaches are coming down. I was part of it for Tyler Thompson last year.” Moss said of today’s all-state game at the University of Northern Colorado, where the state’s best seniors will battle each other on the gridiron.

The versatile Moss, who is listed as a running back, linebacker and strong safety for the all-state game, helped Rifle High School to a 6-5 overall record and its 13th consecutive playoff appearance as the team’s quarterback in 2007.

Moss, who’s headed to Boise State University as a preferred football walk-on in the fall, will play for the South team and a coaching staff of Widefield’s Bill Cooke, Rocky Ford’s Eric McRae and Pine Creek’s Gary Savoren in Greeley.

Other 3A Western Slope League stars playing for the South include Steamboat Springs kicker Ben DeLine and Palisade’s Jesse Kirstatter and Billy Logsdon.

All-state football participants reported to Greeley on Tuesday and have participated in practices to prepare for the game, something Moss has enjoyed.

“Everyone’s just having fun,” he said. “It’s cool to be a part of. Everyone else is so good. It’s just cool to be around them.”

During his senior season, which had a pair of seasons cut very short by season-ending knee injuries, Moss led the Bears in total touchdowns. The strong, speedy passer also threw for more than 800 yards and rushed for close to 800 on the ground.

Moss will suit up as a linebacker at Boise State. He’ll arrive on campus in early August for the start of camp.

Grand Valley High School graduate Tyler Jensen, who wreaked havoc on opposing defenses as a wide receiver during his senior season, was selected for but won’t participate in today’s all-state football tilt.

That’s because he’s busy trying to carve out a future in baseball.

Jensen’s in Denver playing in a competitive summer league. Specifically, the Slammers Connie Mack program, which is designed to prepare players for the college or pro level.

It’s likely Jensen will end up at Trinidad State Junior College, with which he’s talking about a scholarship.

The former Cardinal, who excelled in three sports (football, basketball and baseball) in high school, is doing some pitching and playing third base and shortstop for his team in the Slammers circuit, which features big-time talent.

“Everybody throws a lot harder,” he said of the league’s pitching. “Some of the curveballs I’ve seen are nasty. It’s a lot higher [competition] than what we faced in our league all year.”

Jensen has been in Denver since just after his May 18 graduation and will be there until the end of July.

Though it’s hard work, he’s relishing the experience.

“We’ve got an indoor facility for the team and I’m in there every day,” he said. “The other day the coach had me hit 300 balls off a tee. It’s almost like working, getting ready for college.”

Football won’t be the only sport taking center stage in Greeley today.

Grand Valley High School graduate Kendall Babler will suit up for the Red squad during today’s all-state girls basketball games at the UNC.

The point guard who helped the Cardinals to the Class 2A state title game against Wray in March will try to help her team ” which includes players primarily from the Front Range ” through a four-team all-state bracket.

Babler will play basketball at Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2008-09.

Other Western Slopers in Greeley include Basalt’s Kat Fitzpatrick, who’ll play for the Blue team, and Moffat County’s Angie Charchalis, who’ll play for the Black team.

Rifle High School graduate Alissa Skinner finished up her high school softball career with Wednesday’s all-state softball game at UNC.

Skinner played right field for a team coached by her mom, Rifle coach Cindy Skinner, and Mullen’s Tony Lopez. After holding onto a 2-0 lead for some time, the Skinners’ squad ended up losing, 3-2.

“It was fun,” Alissa said of the experience. “There is definitely a lot of talent. It was like playing summer ball all over again.”

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