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El Campo, Yoakum grads share field for final high school game

By MIKE FORMAN
July 30, 2013 at 2:30 a.m.

Yoakum's Keith Ratley (2) comes down with a reception over teammate Jason Washington (16) and opponent Dallas Madison's Jesse Montgomery (5) during the second quarter of the Texas High School Coaches Association all-star football game at TCU in Fort Worth.

FORT WORTH - Cole Hunt and Keith Ratley couldn't have spent the summer much differently.

But El Campo's Hunt and Yoakum's Ratley have been on the same schedule the past week as teammates on the South squad for the Texas High School Coaches Association's 79th All-Star Football Game.

Hunt and Ratley practiced together at TCU before playing together during the North's 39-29 win Tuesday night at Amon Carter Stadium.

Ratley caught seven passes for a team-leading 165 yards and a touchdown. Hunt had three tackles while starting at defensive end.

Hunt left for Houston five days after graduating from El Campo, to work out and take two summer school classes at Rice, where he will play in the upcoming season.

"They said once football season comes around and you don't get redshirted it's going to be really, really hard especially with that Rice academics," Hunt said. "I got my foot in the door, and got to know some of the professors that I'm going to be with in the fall, really makes me feel comfortable. The people around me seem pretty awesome."

Hunt, who was the Class 3A defensive player of the year, played defensive end and tight end for the Ricebirds.

But he will stay on the offensive side of the ball at Rice and hopes to play as a true freshman.

"I'm coming in with the attitude that I want to play," Hunt said. "I want to make a good freshman impact on the team and help the team win. I want to play this year. I don't want to sit out, but I'm not going to be negative if I'm redshirted and the coaches know it's best for me."

Rice coach David Bailiff is strongly considering making Hunt part of the roster for the upcoming season.

"We'll really take a strong look at Cole Hunt at tight end since we graduated all our tight ends," Bailiff said. "He's a big 6-7 kid and we'll see if he's ready to go. We'll definitely look at Cole."

Ratley earned all-state honors as a wide receiver at Yoakum, but spent the summer working in the family plumbing business.

"It was all right," he said. "I didn't really have to do too much. All I did is hand them tools most of the time."

Ratley is looking into the opportunity to play at Blinn College or he could decide to simply attend school at Blinn's College Station campus.

"It's just whether I want to play or not," he said. "It's what I want to do and when I want to do it. It just depends."

Ratley didn't look like a player who was ready to stop playing football.

"There was some big competition around here, everybody was an all-star," Ratley said. "It felt weird with everybody being just as good as everybody else. We tried our hardest. It just didn't come out like we wanted."

The North's Jabryce Taylor of Lufkin was named the offensive MVP. Taylor, who is headed to SMU, broke the receiving yardage record with 10 catches for 226 yards and three touchdowns.

The previous record was 173 yards set by Percy Waddle of Columbus in 1986.

The South's Joshua Price of Fort Bend Hightower was the defensive MVP. Hightower, who will attend Southern Nazarene, blocked two kicks, recovered one, and had two tackles.

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