institute — The North-South Football Classic serves several purposes.
It gives players one last opportunity to play football at the high school level. It also gives them a taste of dorm life, and it allows them the opportunity to play with the peers they’ve faced for so many years.
Summers County graduate Christian Pack has embraced each of those aspects during his weeklong stay at West Virginia State to practice for today’s noon all-star game at South Charleston High School.
“I’ve looked forward to getting to know these guys that I’ve played against all throughout high school, like Caleb Richmond from Meadow Bridge,” Pack said. “Sammy (Pullens) from Fayetteville, I’ve always played against him and he’s tough. We have kids from Midland Trail who we played against in a playoff game. I’ve just looked forward to getting to play with these guys.
“I’m looking at it as a relief. I know the North has some really good players, but I’ve played against these guys for four years so I know how tough they are. It’s an honor to get to play with them, really.”
Making his name as a defensive back, earning first-team all-state honors at the position in 2018, Pack’s versatility on both sides of the ball is something the South coaching staff, led by Fayetteville head coach Dave Moneypenny, plans to utilize.
“They’re going to play me on offense for right now,” Pack said. “I’m probably going to play some defense, but it’s more offense for me this week.”
“He’s a big body. A BIG body,” Moneypenny said. “He’s a physical specimen on either side of the football. You get him out on the edge and he’s going to overshadow any defensive back out there. When you put him on the defensive side of the ball, he can hold his own with anybody. He was tough for us to handle Week 10 and he’s going to be tough for (the North) to handle this Saturday.”
Though Pack favors the defensive side of the ball, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field and show his peers and coaches his versatility.
“Either way is fine with me,” Pack said. “Just getting out there on the field is better than sitting on the sidelines. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and enjoy it while doing whatever they ask me to do.”
If, by chance, Pack does get in on the defensive side of the ball, he’s already scouted the North and the competitors it brings to the table. As such, he has a list of players he’s looking forward to playing against, but one name tops them all.
“I’m looking forward to playing against Connor Neal, the quarterback (and Kennedy Award winner) from Fairmont Senior,” Pack said. “He’s a state champion, a heck of a ball player. I’ve seen his highlights and what he can do. There’s a couple kids from Spring Mills I’ve seen, too, that I’m looking forward to playing against. I’ve watched all of them and I know they’re going to be bringing it this Saturday.”
Being among the state’s best is something Pack has soaked in and appreciated. As the lone representative of a program that made back-to-back playoff appearances, including a semifinal run in 2017, he’s considered it an honor that he’s not taking for granted.
“I’m just glad I’m able to represent Summers County,” Pack said. “There are numerous guys like Timmy (Persiani) and Sam (Wykle) who had great seasons for us as seniors, too. They could’ve been up here, too, but I’m glad I was allowed to come and represent the whole county and hopefully I don’t disappoint.”
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