Clarksdale High School seniors Sammie Ray, Almetris Smith and De’meric Strong have all played football together since they were teammates with the Clarksdale Lumberjacks at the peewee level.
All three standout Wildcats were recognized for their efforts as they earned spots in senior all-star games.
Ray, a running back, and Smith, a left guard, will be playing for the North in the 2020 Bernard Blackwell North/South All-Star Football Game at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19 at Mississippi College in Clinton.
Strong, a linebacker, will be playing for Mississippi in the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. Saturday, Dec. 12.
All dates, times and locations are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To me it means better opportunities,” Smith said. “It makes you in a good position to get into a good college. You can ball out more.”
Smith admitted he was shocked to earn a spot on the all-star team.
“It’s a blessing,” Smith said. “Shout out to God.”
Ray hopes to score two touchdowns in the North/South All-Star Game and Smith plans to help him reach his goal.
“I really hope I can block for him so he can run right behind me and make all the touchdowns,” Smith said. “I’ll celebrate one of the touchdowns.”
Smith is interested in playing college football for Southern Miss, Mississippi State or Ole Miss.
The Wildcats, 4-1, have already clinched a Region 3-4A championship and Smith believes they have a good chance to win a state title.
“The season’s going great for us speaking for our linemen, receivers and running backs,” Smith said.
In addition to his goal of scoring two touchdowns, Ray hopes to receive more offers to play college football after playing in the North/South All-Star Game.
Ray said he is interested in playing for the University of Memphis, Coahoma Community College or Belhaven University.
Through it all, Ray has kept things in perspective.
“It means a lot,” Ray said. “Just keep God first and keep going hard.”
Ray also has his sights set on winning a state championship with the Wildcats.
“The way we’re going now, I feel like we can win it all,” he said.
Clarksdale’s one loss of the season was to South Panola. Ray looks forward to being on the same team with South Panola players in the All-Star Game.
“It will be fun meeting them and coming just a little closer,” Ray said.
Strong was also happy to be playing in an All-Star Game.
“It’s a blessing,” Strong said.
Strong said some of his teammates will be from Lake Coromorant, Horn Lake and Southaven high schools.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Strong of playing on the same team as athletes he has gone against.
Strong said scouts from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama and Auburn will likely be at the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game.
“It’s going to be a good experience to showcase my skills and all that,” Strong said.
Strong specifically said he is interested in playing for Mississippi State or Alabama.
He also believes the Wildcats could win a championship his senior year.
“I want to go out with a bang,” Strong said.
“Everything is going good so far.”