Duerksen, Stultz to represent GHS in all-star game

Sports reporter

Kurtis Duerksen and Grady Stultz have one more chapter to add to their Goessel High School football legacy.

The seniors already are part of the first class at GHS to have a winning season all four years, and have made the playoffs in three of those years.

Now the two have one more game to play before their high school career is over.

Duerksen and Stultz were selected in January to be part of the Division I West roster in the Kansas 8-man all-star game.

Stultz, a defensive end, and Duerksen, an offensive and defensive lineman, will play in the June 7 game at Beloit.

The game came about in 1986 when a group of eight-man coaches in Kansas noticed a lack of eight-man players in the Shrine Bowl.

Duerksen was anxiously awaiting word of whether or not he would play in the game.

"I was hoping because the seniors the last few years had played in it," he said. "I was hoping I got to play in one last game."

It will be the final contest for Duerksen at any level because he accepted a full-ride scholarship to Southeast Community College in Milford, Wis., in conjunction with John Deere Corporation.

Stultz said he will be signing papers later this week to continue his football career at Bethel College in Newton.

When the game starts, neither will have the pressure of trying to impress a coach or school interested in signing them.

Neither athlete has attended the game in the past, and both are looking forward to their first opportunity as a player.

"I'm just going into it to have some fun," Stultz said.

Friends since 'forever'

Football isn't the only thing on the minds of Stultz and Duerksen.

The two friends who have gone to school together "since forever," according to Duerksen, also are active in FFA.

Stultz is a member of the Hillsboro High School wrestling team as part of a cooperative between the schools, and Duerksen is a member of the Bluebird basketball team.

Last year the team was fourth in the state, and Duerksen said that while he focused mainly on football, basketball is quickly becoming a favorite of his as well.

"Over the years I've really grown to like it," he said. "I used to not focus on it, but I've gotten a lot better."

Stutlz earned a trip to the 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament as a junior, and is hoping he can do it again in his final year.

If he does, it will be as a member of the Goessel team since the schools break up during regionals and state competition.

But during the year, Stultz is a teammate of athletes from another school, something both he and Duerksen will do again come June.

"That could be weird," Duerksen said as the two chuckled about being teammates with rivals from Little River.

While it's obvious both are excited about the game, they also know it is just that — a game.

"It's a chance for me to play one last game," Duerksen said. "It will be a lot of fun I think."