The upcoming football season may still be months away, but that won’t stop football fans in Leavenworth from catching a game. On June 14 at Leavenworth High School, the 27th annual Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game will take place.

It will be the first time that Leavenworth will host the all-star game and the first time the game returns to Kansas after the previous five games were played in Missouri.

The matchup at Pioneer Stadium will have more than 80 players who recently graduated high school getting to suit up one more time representing their school.

Wide receiver Andrew Ativie and defensive end Gabe Casmus of Leavenworth will be joined by Lansing wide receiver Calvin Thomas and Basehor-Linwood’s linebacker Joey Foster as members of the Kansas team. Some of the other Kansas schools represented include Blue Valley Northwest, De Soto, and Olathe East.

The two teams will be under the leadership of successful coaches as Missouri’s squad will be under Phil Lite of Staley, the defending Missouri Class 5 state champions, and the Kansas team will be under Pioneers’ coach Mark Littrell.

The Hall of Fame coach is honored to be named the coach of the Kansas team.

“It’s an honor for me to be able to be the head coach,” Littrell said. “It is a reflection of not just me, but the coaching staff, the players, and the program. It’s not just all about me.” 

Coaching an all-star game will be different for the veteran coach. With only eight practices, Littrell and his staff will have to get the various kids from different schools acclimated to each other.

“When you’re coaching an all-star game, you’re not doing the regular practice schedule,” Littrell said. “I’m sitting there going, ‘you need individual time for them to acclimate to what we’re doing.’ These guys are the best of the best, so you don’t need group time as much as you would with a regular team. We just got to get them on the same page. Get them to the gate.” 

Littrell is also honored to be able to coach two of his players one more time and will enjoy coaching some players from the rival schools.

The community of Leavenworth is also honored to be hosting the game. 

“Leavenworth High School is honored and extremely excited to be hosting the GKCFCA All-Star Football Game on June 14, 2018.” Leavenworth High School Principal Christina Lentz said in a press release. “Our school community is proud of our Pioneer Stadium, and we are excited to be able to share it with everyone for a great evening of football. We are also very proud of coach Mark Littrell, who has been selected to be the coach of the Kansas Team.”

Practices will continue from 6-8 p.m. June 11-13 and the game will be June 14 at 7 p.m. at Pioneer Stadium