Chieftains coach will lead 5 of his own players in all-star contest

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FARMINGTON — Shiprock football coach Eric Stovall received a major honor earlier this week when he learned he'd been chosen as head coach for the North team in the annual 3A/4A North-South All-Star Game next month.

"I found out (Monday). It was a surprise and humbling, and obviously I'm excited because we have some of our kids playing in the all-star game," Stovall said. "It was a very positive phone call (Monday), and I was just humbled."

Rosters for the exhibition game, which will be played June 9 at the Nusenda Community Stadium in Albuquerque, are being finalized, but five Shiprock players are listed on the North roster, giving Stovall one last chance to coach some of his players.

"I think it's really cool for our kids. It gives us an opportunity to share some positive things with our kids before they move on to their future endeavors. It's exciting," Stovall said. "It's a great opportunity to coach our kids again and see them have fun and play against some of the best players in the state of New Mexico. It'll be a fun and exciting game, and we're going to enjoy the week."

Roster spots for the game are reserved for graduating seniors.

Adrian Gibson, Darren Harrison, Chance Harvey, Steve Lara and Darnell Whitehorse are the Shiprock players on the roster.

Navajo Prep's Kemahya Curley and Anthony Pioche-Lee are the only other players from District 1-4A to make the team.

Players and coaches will report for the game on June 5 and will have a couple of days to run through practices to prepare for the game.

The game features dialed-back play-calling options. Stovall said he and the South team's coach, Portales' Jaime Ramirez, will go over the plans for the offense and defense, but typically teams can use only a couple of different formations on offense and one defensive front with no blitzing packages.

Stovall has led the Chieftains for the past two seasons, going 12-9 overall. The Chieftains won the District 1-4A title last season.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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