If an Indiana high school football athlete shines for their school, they could be chosen for the Murat Shrine North/South All-Star Classic, which is held by the Indiana Football Coaches Association.
For this year’s 57th annual game, two Delaware County players will play for the North team. Those are Muncie Central’s Josiah Ullom and Yorktown’s Kolton Nanko.
Ullom was an honorable mention for the Daily News Boys Athlete of the Year, with Nanko winning the award. Both athletes graduated in the spring, so this will be their final time playing in a high school football game.
“With it being my last high school game, I am most excited to be able to play with many of the great football players in the north that I am used to playing against,” Ullom said via text.
Last season, Ullom helped lead the Bearcats to win four of their last five games. Muncie Central head coach Kyle Padgett was happy to coach Ullom in his final season.
“You hate to see [Ullom]leave, but you love to see him get opportunities like this and represent our program on the biggest stage in Indiana high school football,” Padgett said.
Many teams struggled to stop Ullom as he finished the season with 513 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He also helped the team by ending the year with 514 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
But he won’t be on the offensive side of the ball for the North team. Instead, he will play cornerback, which is a position he excelled at for Muncie Central. In his final and only season as a Bearcat, he walked away with 22 solo tackles and four assists.
He is most excited about the competition that he will play with.
“Both teams have great talent and it will not be easy for any team,” Ullom said. “Everyone is here for a reason and this is a great game to show everyone what you got and sets the tone for the coming seasons in college.”
Ullom will continue his academic and football career at DePauw University.
When it comes to Nanko, he was a key component in their strong season that ended with a sectional championship. He will play wide receiver for the North team, and his receiving stats speak for themselves.
In his final season, he had 74 receptions for 1,052 yards and led the Tigers with 12 receiving touchdowns. He also was a part of Yorktown's ground game as he had four rushing touchdowns.
Yorktown head coach Mike Wilhelm will be making the trip to watch his former player.
“Kolton was one of our hardest workers, one of our best weight room guys, and one of our most intelligent players,” Wilhelm said. “The fact that he had the season he had, I wasn't surprised by that at all and the fact that he's an All-Star, I'm not surprised by that either.”
In the days leading up to the game, the athletes attended a camp for the game. To Nanko, it has been quite the experience.
“It’s definitely not easy… two to three practices a day really gets to you after not playing football for 8 months,” he said. “But it is a really fun time being around all the other guys and making new friends with guys that I would’ve never met without this opportunity.”
Nanko will attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and will compete in their football and track and field programs.
The North/South All-Star game will be held at Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis. The game is set for Friday, July 14, and will start at 7 p.m.