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DHS duo picked for all-star game

A pair of Demopolis High School seniors can now add to their list of accomplishments as the AHSAA released its rosters this week for the annual North-South All-Star game, a list the includes defensive tackle Tremaine Sanders and safety Anthony Hardy.

“It’s good that we get an opportunity to send our kids to a statewide competition like that,” Demopolis head coach Tom Causey, who coached in the game last season, said. “It’s wrapping it up for that senior group. It’s the last hurrah and gives them a chance to play high school ball and represent the city of Demopolis one more time.”

While the two Tiger standouts will be making the same trip to compete as part of the South squad, they figure to enter the July 16 game with very different circumstances.

Hardy, a Class 5A honorable mention all-state performer, inked a scholarship offer on National Signing Day, an agreement that has assured him a spot with the Tuskegee Golden Tigers. Conversely, Sanders has drawn interest from a number of teams but has yet to be given a scholarship offer.

“It gives him an opportunity to get another look,” Causey said of Sanders, a first-team all-state player who recorded 31 total tackles including 19 for loss while forcing six fumbles and recovering four others from his noseguard spot during a senior season in which he served as a heartbeat of the DHS defensive line. “Some of these schools could lose a defensive tackle in May to academics or whatever an it gives him a chance to maybe earn a scholarship offer.”

“I’m excited, looking forward to playing,” Sanders, who has been labeled as too short by many recruiters, said, indicating that he is well aware of the challenges he faces. “It gives me an opportunity to see how good I am. It gives me an opportunity to redeem myself and hopefully get a scholarship.”

For Hardy, the game is a chance to make new connections and spend a week working on week points in his game.

“I like competition. This gives me a look at how college should be,” Hardy said. “It’s always good to meet new people. In life, you get so few chances to meet new people and I say you make the best out of it.”

Hardy, who made the memorable play in the Class 5A state title game when he ripped the ball from a Russellville player and took it 74 yards for a touchdown, said his focus over the course of the week will be improving his ability to play coverage. The senior had 49 tackles, seven interceptions and 10 pass break-ups during the 2009 season, but still sees issues he needs to address before taking the field at Tuskegee.

“I want to work on man-to-man coverage. I want to lock somebody down so I can try to be complete,” Hardy said. “I can play zone and I can roam all day long. But I want to learn to lock somebody down.”

The selections of Sanders and Hardy mark the second straight year a Demopolis player has been selected to participate in the game. Current University of West Alabama quarterback Rick Boone played in the all-star contest in 2009.

“That is another reason why I’m glad I am in it, because he did it and he’s my big cousin,” Hardy said.

The game is part of the the AHSAA’s All-Star Sports Week which is set for July 12-16 in Huntsville. The North-South football game will be played on the campus of Alabama A&M University and will cap the weeklong festivities.

Sanders and Hardy will join a South squad that includes standouts from Stanhope Elmore, Prattville, Vigor, Carver, Greenville, Chilton County, Gulf Shores, Foley and Loachapoka among others.