April 1, 2004 at 3:48 p.m.
“I am definitely excited, even a little surpirsed that I was selected,” said James. “I went into the season just hoping to have fun so you don’t expect something like this.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Bill Weiss, Chisago Lakes head football coach. “It’s a huge individual accomplishment, but it’s also a reflection on how well the team did this year. People are going to see his name as well as Chisago Lakes. It honors both the kid and the program.”
James will play for the Outstate team, consisting of 42 players from across the state of Minnesota. In all, coupled with the Metro squad, only 84 seniors from the entire state were selected to play. No question, the senior will be sharing the grid-iron with the best the state has offer. Nathan Swift from Hutchinson, who will be attending Nebraska next fall, along with Willie VanDeSteeg, a Gopher recruit, will both be on James’ team.
“I think it will be fun to play with athletes of that caliber,” mentioned James. “I’ll be comparing myself to those guys a little bit, but mainly I just want to have fun.”
Don’t worry, James will definitely hold his own. One of six running backs on the team, James is the only player from the Rum River Conference playing in the game. Each season, the Rum River designates two players as possible candidates to play, an Offensive Player of the Year and a Defensive Player of the Year. Behind 943 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns, James was the only player to make the cut.
“You can definitely back him up with stats,” mentioned Weiss. “Our offense was explosive this past year, and a lot of it was dependent on our fullback. He did what he did without the luxury of a lead blocker, that’s pretty impressive. His numbers speak for themselves.”
The Metro All-Stars will face the Outstate All-Stars on June 26 at Macalester College.