About to enter his 11th season as Hartley High School football coach, Brad Burchfield is as engaged as ever in taking on new challenges.
His latest challenge is serving as coach of the Red all-stars in the Central District All-Star game at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Fortress Obetz.
Burchfield, who has guided the Hawks to three state championships, believes the game gives many of the area's top players from the class of 2018 an opportunity to showcase their talent one final time before heading off to college.
For nearly three decades, the event was known as the Central Ohio All-Star game and was held in late July. The game was moved to mid-June in 2010 and renamed the Cap City Senior Bowl before taking on its current name last summer.
"The Central District Football Coaches Association has gotten behind this game, and we'd like to make it a big deal," Burchfield said. "We're looking forward to making it a great game and a tremendous experience for the schools, kids and fans."
Both the Red and White all-star teams are expected to have about 40 players, including many who will play at the collegiate level. The White all-stars are being coached by Dublin Jerome's Bob Gecewich.
The Red all-stars will feature three Hartley players in Elijah Carter (DB/RB), Alexander Blackmon (LB) and Ethan Amaya (DL).
Carter, who rushed for 1,143 yards and 13 touchdowns and had three interceptions while being named first-team all-district in Division III last season, will play for Olivet Nazarene. Blackmon rushed for 585 yards and 23 touchdowns and had 50 tackles while making second-team all-district, while Amaya, who will play for Ohio Dominican, joined Carter as first-team all-district.
The Red all-stars' quarterbacks are Teays Valley's Brandon Coleman, who was second-team all-district in Division II, and Eastmoor Academy's Alexander Ushry.
Other key members on the Red all-stars' offense should include Independence running back Demontae Taylor, Pickerington North wide receiver Ty Wiley and Groveport wide receiver Izayah Aekins.
Taylor rushed for 2,503 yards and 20 touchdowns and was named Division III district Offensive Player of the Year last fall, while Wiley had 61 receptions for 1,228 yards and 17 touchdowns. Aekins made first-team all-state as a junior before missing all of last season with a right ankle injury.
Marion-Franklin's Travis Geiger and Independence's Chad Douglas both were first-team all-state offensive linemen who also figure to take on key roles for the Red team.Videos
•Mifflin's Daveonn Logan
•Game organizer Jumbo Harrell
The White all-stars' offense should be led by Mifflin quarterback Daveonn Logan, who competed 136 of 215 passes for 2,852 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for eight scores last fall as the Punchers went 8-3. Logan was named Division II district Offensive Player of the Year.
The White team's other quarterback is Westerville South's Max Barber, who completed 91 of 186 passes for 1,307 yards and 14 touchdowns last fall.
Other key offensive players include Westerville Central running back Allen Smith, who rushed for 1,368 yards and 13 touchdowns, and Warhawks wide receiver Ashton Gilkey, who had 41 receptions.
Gecewich, who guided Jerome to its third consecutive winning record and a Division I, Region 2 playoff berth last fall, will have one of his Celtics players on his roster in wide receiver Max Darrow.
Other top players for the White all-stars should include Northland's Mike Williams (WR/DB), Beechcroft's Shemar Samuel (RB/LB) and Deonteze Newsom (DL), Gahanna's Jonathan Harrington (LB) and Ready's Charles Omameh (DL).
Last fall, Williams scored 15 touchdowns and had 50 tackles, while Samuel rushed for 807 yards and nine touchdowns and also led Beechcroft's defense.