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Area athletes miss out on All Star opportunities

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NORFOLK — This nasty COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate the sports landscape.

It claimed another scalp as the Northeast Nebraska All-Star Classic set for June 13 in Norfolk was scrapped due to the coronavirus that had killed over 55,000 Americans by the end of the last week.

So, the dreams of one more game in a prep football career at an important time have been dashed.

“Losing this game is something that I was afraid was coming,” Cedar Catholic head football coach Chad Cattau said. “There have been so many changes and adjustments that everyone has been making, and things have really been affecting the seniors a lot. This is another thing that they will lose the opportunity to do.

This all-star game experience is a very special week for all the participants and coaches, and now they will lose this as well. Having coached in this game twice in the past, I know what great memories and relation ships are created from this game, and these kids will not get that chance.”

Six local athletes were set to represent the Red Team at the event including Cedar Catholic’s Rex Becker, Peyton Haahr, Eric Hoesing and Jacob Kaiser and Hartington/Newcastle’s Dylan Dendinger and Shaye Morten.

“I was really looking forward to watching all four of our young men get to play together one more time, and that won’t happen now,” Cattau said. “Even though the game has been lost, I am still proud of each of these guys for what they accomplished in their careers and how they always represented Cedar Catholic in a very high manner.”

Dendinger was disappointed in the lost opportunity to play with the other local players.

“I expected it to be canceled, but I hoped it would just be postponed,” he said. “I am really bummed. I was really looking forward to playing with kids from my town that I don’t usually play with. This is my last time to play football and it got taken away from me.”

It’s just one more thing crossed off the list of lost experiences.

“I was hoping to do a lot of things these next couple of months – a prom and have a graduation party,” he said. “This doesn’t make me happy by any means. I am kind of sick to my stomach and this makes me sad.”

Becker, who is heading to Wayne State College to play football, echoed Dendinger’s sentiments.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to have one more time to play with my teammates and two other kids from our town and the area surrounding students,” Becker said. “I was looking forward to it. I have been lifting every day for college football. We were pumped up for this game and were in pretty good shape. It’s a disappointment. I was waiting for this honestly.

“It’s a downer, but it gives me something more to look forward to next year. It feels like summer has started, but it’s only April. I have more or less tried to stay away from watching the news and seeing everything canceled. You don’t have to sit here and think about it.”

Kaiser did get some good news during this time as he made his college destination official, signing also to play at Wayne State, late last week.

He will play running back for the program and before that he continues to work for his family’s irrigation business.

“I was kind of looking forward to playing one last game with (his teammates) and some of the guys I have never played with,” Kaiser said. “It would have been neat to meet some new guys, but that’s not going to happen. Everyone is in the same boat as me so I can’t feel too bad for myself. It’s not just our own little part of the world … it’s everybody. You just have to stay patient and calm with everything and roll with the punches. If you want this to end, listen to what the guidelines are and try to stay away from people as much as you can.