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Goliad seniors make big impression at all-star games (w/videos)

By MIKE FORMAN
Jan. 20, 2014 at 11:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 19, 2014 at 7:20 p.m.

From left, quarterback Dalton Sturm, and offensive lineman Austin Speed, of Goliad, stand back to back at the Goliad Events Center. Sturm played in the Blue-Grey Football All-American Bowl in Tampa, Fla., in early January. Speed played on the West squad of the Blue-Grey Football All-American Bowl in Arlington in December.

Goliad all-stars

•  Austin Speed, offensive line

Blue-Grey Football All-American Bowl

AT&T Stadium, Arlington

• Dalton Sturm, quarterback

Blue-Grey Football All-American Bowl

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.

GOLIAD - Dalton Sturm wasn't worried about being from a small town.

He was more concerned about making a big impression.

"Coming from a small school and going to Florida, nobody is going to know Goliad, a small school in Texas," Sturm said. "You want to show them that you can play small-school football, and it's not who you play but how good you are."

Sturm and Goliad teammate Austin Speed got a chance to prove their point in the recent Blue-Grey Football All-American Bowls.

Speed and Sturm, who recently completed their senior season at Goliad, earned an invitation to the all-star games with their performance at a combine in Arlington.

Sturm performed so well - he had a 40-inch vertical leap - that he was invited to a super combine in Canton, Ohio.

The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Speed started on the offensive line at right tackle and also played left tackle, both guard positions and on kickoff returns for the West squad, which cruised to a 41-7 win at AT&T Stadium in Arlington last month.

"On the team, I was actually the second smallest offensive lineman," he said. "I felt like I had a lot to prove. I wanted to show them I'm in no way, shape or form the weak link. I was able to start over a bunch of people bigger than me."

The 6-2, 180-pound Sturm split time with two other quarterbacks for the South squad, which captured a 46-41 win in double overtime at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., earlier this month.

Sturm took all but two of the snaps in overtime. He threw for more than 75 yards and rushed for more than 50 yards and a touchdown.

"It was a lot faster," Sturm said. "The defensive speed was a lot faster. In high school, it's easier to break tackles and easier to get around the corner and make people miss. I still had some success but not as much as I would have in high school. You're playing with guys who are going to be playing at the next level."

Sturm and Speed hope to be playing football next season. They have drawn interest from Division II and III schools, and Texas-San Antonio has asked Sturm to become a preferred walk-on.

Both enhanced their chances as seniors. They helped lead the Tigers to their first playoff win since 1997 and became members of the National Honor Society in the process.

Sturm was the District 15-2A, Division I offensive MVP after passing for 1,460 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushing for 1,305 yards and 19 touchdowns.

"I was able to stay in the pocket more and work on my reads and my timing with my receivers, which is going to be important next year," he said. "I'm going to be able to scramble around as much as I can, but making the throws on point and on time whenever the receivers break is going to be big."

Speed played on both sides of the line and earned first-team all-district honors at offensive and defensive tackle.

"We knew it was going to be the season to leave our mark on the town," he said. "We had a rough year our sophomore year, but our junior year, we were able to build up. We knew we were going to have a better season."

Goliad coach John Mares appreciates what Sturm and Speed have accomplished the last two seasons.

"We're going to miss those guys," Mares said. "They have done so much for our program."

Sturm and Speed hope they did enough at their respective all-star games to benefit them in the near future.

"You always want to win the game," Sturm said. "But you want to perform well and get your name out there as well."

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