2017-07-14 / Sports

Lometa all-stars gear up for games

BY JEFF LOWE
DISPATCH RECORD


Connell Barnett (2) makes a tackle against state-ranked Jonesboro during the bi-district playoffs last fall. Barnett and Adrian Rivera will compete this weekend in separate all-star contests in Wichita Falls. 
FILE PHOTO Connell Barnett (2) makes a tackle against state-ranked Jonesboro during the bi-district playoffs last fall. Barnett and Adrian Rivera will compete this weekend in separate all-star contests in Wichita Falls. FILE PHOTO Lometa graduates Connell Barnett and Adrian Rivera are looking to top off successful high school careers as they represent the Hornets in Texas Six-Man Coaches Association all-star games this weekend.

Barnett will play for the East team in the TSMCA football game tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls. Rivera joins the East team on the basketball court at 2 p.m. Saturday at Midwestern State University.

The East football team is led by the coach of Union Hill, a state semifinalist team last year.

Barnett said he looks forward to having several former rivals on the same side of the ball for this game.

“I’ve been playing with Bishop Norman from Zephyr since pee wee football,” he said. “And Cameron King from May. And it feels really good to finally play with those guys instead of against them.”


Adrian Rivera (23) goes for a rebound against Gustine last season. Rivera will represent Lometa on the East team for the Texas Six-Man Coaches Association basketball all-star game Saturday. 
FILE PHOTO | DISPATCH RECORD Adrian Rivera (23) goes for a rebound against Gustine last season. Rivera will represent Lometa on the East team for the Texas Six-Man Coaches Association basketball all-star game Saturday. FILE PHOTO | DISPATCH RECORD Barnett and Rivera headed to Wichita Falls Tuesday morning with Hornets’ head coach D.T. Torres.

The East team had practice scheduled twice a day Wednesday and Thursday, and once for today. Activities for the week also included a movie on the lake Tuesday night, a Fellowship of Christian Athletes service Wednesday night and going out for all-you-can-eat ribs on Thursday night.

Barnett said he would play defense, but he did not know what position or what type of defense the all-star team would run. He has kept in shape through the offseason by running on his own and coming to the Hornets’ open gym a few times a week.

Barnett has played football since fifth grade, and he said this will be his last competitive outing in the sport.

“In playoffs, you’re not sure when your last game will be, so it’s kind of unexpected,” he said. “But I feel really good knowing that this will be my last game.”

Two players from each six-man district are nominated for the all-star game, and the association picks from that list of nominees.

Being selected was a very big honor, Barnett said.

Rivera has played basketball since first grade.

“It all started when my mom put me in Little Dribblers,” Rivera said. “And I looked at her; I was like, ‘What’s Little Dribblers?’

“From there, I had a passion for it and loved [basketball],” he said.

“It’s an honor to represent Lometa,” Rivera added. “I grew up here my whole life, and I know everybody here, and I know they’re gonna want me to go out and represent Lometa High School.”

The Hornets have played a fast-paced style for years, but Rivera expects an even quicker tempo for the all-star match-up.

“I’m up for the challenge…,” he said. “It’s an all-star game. Everyone wants to impress everybody.”

This summer, Rivera has played five-on-five half-court basketball with other Lometa athletes during open gym. Working a job through the summer also is keeping him active.

He and his East teammates will be coached by Curtis Hurst of Priddy.

Rivera said he looks forward to meeting new people and to getting out and competing.

Barnett and Rivera will be able to watch each other’s games, since they are at different times and days.

“We grew up in high school together, played both sports – football and basketball …,” Rivera said. “We’re gonna be rooting each other on, and we’re just gonna be there for each other.”

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