OTTUMWA — Ottumwa football coach Zach Pfantz and Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont football coach Eric Kellar will be among the coaches involved in the 42nd annual Iowa Shrine All-Star Football Classic on July 26 at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls.
Both Pfantz and Kellar will be assistant coaches on the South team. Pella High School Coach Jay McKinstrey will be the head coach of the South team.
"I feel really honored to be able to be apart of it," Pfantz said. "It's something that's been a pretty big Iowa High School tradition. A lot of great players and coaches have been a part of it and I just feel fortunate to have the opportunity."
Pfantz said he first met McKinstrey when he was a defensive coordinator at Central College in Pella and he also knows Kellar.
"It will be really fun to get to coach all the players, but for me, I'm looking forward to talking and getting some great ideas from some really good coaches, too," Pfantz said.
"It will be exciting to coach some different kids and just have a lot of fun," Kellar said.
One player, however, will be quite familiar to Kellar: former Rocket linebacker Chance Wursta was nominated to play for the South squad. Wursta tallied 45 tackles this season and one interception.
"It's just going to be awesome because Chance is such a great kid," Kellar said. "This will be nice to allow him to play one more time. He will be ready to go by July."
Wursta's senior season got off to a prodigious start, as he averaged about 16 tackles a game in his first three games before a torn Anterior cruciate ligament rendered him to the sideline for the rest of the season. If he would have stayed healthy, Kellar said Wursta would have made All-State.
"Probably getting another shot to play in a high school game and getting to play with some other great athletes around the state," Wursta said when asked what most excited him about competing in the Shrine Bowl. "I know it is a very high privilege."
The game raises money for Shriner's Hospitals for Children through tickets sales, advertising in the Shrine Bowl Program, merchandize sales, contributions and scholarships.
"The [hospital] kids are No. 1," Kellar said. "Obviously the kids [players] will want to win the game, but it's not about who wins or loses."
On a day prior to the game, the children from the Shriner's hospitals will get to visit the UNI-Dome and meet the players.
"That will be an eye-opener for some of these players," Kellar said, "to see what some of these kids have to deal with."
The coaches in the game were chosen by the Iowa High School Football Coaches Association. The coaches select the 46 players for each squad and the picks are made from nominations they received from high school coaches throughout the state. Before the game, the players will go out into communities and sell tickets and-or try to get businesses to sponsor the game, Kellar said.
To follow Andy Heintz's Twitter feed, go to @heintz23