ROCKINGHAM — Two Richmond Senior High School football players, and one coach, will participate in an annual summer showcase game this July.
Seniors Kaleel Brown and Tremel Jones were selected to compete for the East team in the 2021 North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game.
Greg Williams, an assistant head football coach at Richmond with 31 years of experience, was also selected to help coach the East team. He’ll serve as one of five assistants under Paul Cornwell, the former head coach of Ayden-Grifton High School.
The coaching staff was initially selected in August 2019, but last summer’s game was never played due to COVID-19.
The NCCA sent out invitations over the weekend, and players have until April 27 to accept. A single school can have a maximum of two players selected.
Jones, a wide receiver who is signed to play at Wingate University, and Brown, a defensive lineman, join an illustrious list of nearly 100 Raiders to play in the summer classic. Last year, former players Dereck Barringer and Jaheim Covington were named.
“We are really excited about this,” head coach Bryan Till said. “We got to tell them in front of their teammates at practice on Monday, and that was important for them.”
The East-West All-Star Game was started in 1949 by Bob Jamieson, who was the football coach at Grimsley High School in Greensboro.
Since then, it’s blossomed into an annual event that features some of the top athletes from across the state who are recent high school graduates.
Through four games this spring, Jones has 17 receptions for a team-high 280 receiving yards. Known for his speed, Jones leads the Raiders with four receiving touchdowns, is averaging 70 yards per game and is second on the team with 424 all-purpose yards.
Against Hoke County High School, Jones added an 85-yard rushing score to his stat sheet.
“It’s an honor and this is something I’ve always worked to try and leave my mark at Richmond,” Jones said. “Now that I’ve earned that trust, to be a part of this team is great.
“Kaleel is a great teammate,” he added of Brown. “During the pandemic, we worked out a lot together. He’s a dedicated teammate and very committed to the team.”
Brown has continued to impress for the Raiders up front, helping the team make a successful shift to a 4-3 defense this season. He’s made 19 total tackles in four games, 13 of which were solo tackles. Averaging 4.8 tackles per game, Brown is second on the team with five tackles for loss.
Breaking through the line with his strength, Brown collected one quarterback sack against Lumberton, forced a fumble against Hoke County and also has one quarterback hurry.
“It feels good to make the team, especially when you look and see all the (Richmond) guys on the list who have made the East-West All-Star Game,” Brown said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to represent Richmond.
“My play this year is a lot better than last year,” he added. “I’ve stepped up a lot more this year in my role on the defensive line. I’m looking forward to competing against the best players in the state.”
In the three decades he’s spent on the gridiron, Williams has served in several coaching roles all across the Sandhills. He began his career at Scotland High School in 1990, before moving to Hoke County High School in 1995.
From 2002 through 2014, Williams completed his first stint at Richmond, before returning in 2017 at the start of Till’s tenure.
He was a part of the 2008 4AA state championship football team, helping the Raiders to a 12-3-1 overall record. Richmond defeated Jack Britt High School 38-35 in the state title game played that year.
“It’s a great honor to coach in an all-star game,” Williams shared. “To be able represent Richmond County and Richmond Senior High School, it’s awesome. I’ve been excited about this game for a long time, and I’m really looking forward to getting a chance to coach this year.
“I knew that I wanted Tremel and Kaleel on the team, they have both more than earned it,” he closed. “I’m looking forward to working with some of North Carolina’s best players and most outstanding coaches.”
This year’s edition will be held on July 21 at Robert B. Jamieson Stadium at Grimsley. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. with fireworks featured at halftime.