The memories of Hoxie's thrilling state championship run last fall came rushing back this week for a trio of players off that squad.
Chris Cox, Taylor Burris and Latham Schwarz are getting set to represent the Indians on the West team in the Kansas Division I Eight-Man All-Star game at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Trojan Field in Beloit.
“We had a great season at Hoxie and you wish you could keep going, but you got to move onto college," said Cox, a standout lineman. "And I’m just excited to be playing this game on Saturday because there’s a lot of good athletes from the area and I’m excited to be playing with some good competition.”
"It's adrenaline pumping," Burris added. "It brings back a lot of memories."
Hoxie went 12-1 last season and claimed the school's first state title with a 54-14 win over St. Paul in the championship game.
"We started off the season with 45 (points) on a few teams and then we were like, 'Alright, our goal is to go all the way,' " said Burris, a linebacker for the Indians. "And we accomplished that. We just took it one step at a time."
Cox transferred to Hoxie for his senior year from Oakley, which won one game in his junior season. He also claimed a wrestling state championship last year for the Indians.
“To have the community really (welcome) you when you transfer in for your senior year is a big thing,” Cox said. “Not a lot of schools would do that for you. They accepted me. I just appreciate everything they did for me.
"We won a state championship, but we did more than that in the long run. We gave a lot of hope to the town of Hoxie in the football aspect. A town known for basketball finally got a football state title."
Cox and Burris said they were grateful for the opportunity to play another Eight-Man game.
"What I enjoy about Eight-Man is there's not as much chaos on the field," Burris said. "In 11-man there's so much going on at once. Sometimes, you miss something. Someone made a good play and you missed it because you're looking at something else. In Eight-Man, you can really see what's going on."
“Eight-Man is all about the community,” Cox said. “Everybody comes out and supports Eight-Man football and that’s a really good feeling.”
Schwarz will be one of the top offensive players in the game, rushing for 1,718 yards and 35 touchdowns last year.
Ness City will represented on the West team by running back Brennan Chacon and lineman Trevor VanDegrift. Quarterback Maverick Green and defensive back Brandon Leitner will play for Atwood-Rawlins County, and St. Francis is sending linebacker/end Dalton Straub and lineman Trayton Doyle.
Area players on the East team include linebacker Roxton Brown and running back Denton Schurr from Osborne, and receiver/defensive back Riley Allen and running back David Thompson from Logan-Palco.
The Division I All-Star Game will be followed by the Division II All-Star game at 1:30 p.m.