Highschool soccer participant Obioha desires to play basketball in Colorado

LINDSBORG – Harlan Obioha had the opportunity to continue his football career with colleagues.

But basketball, his favorite sport, was crucial. The Hoxie native announced last week that he would be continuing his basketball career at Rocky Mountain Sports Academy in Fort Collins, Colo.

Obioha chose basketball despite receiving football offers from Ole Miss, Arizona, Arizona State, and Iowa State. He received an offer to play basketball at Kansas State but decided to reclassify for the 2022 recruiting class.

“I always knew I would play that,” said Obioha, who will play for the West team at the Shrine Bowl on Saturday. “That was always the plan. When these great coaches are talking to you it is quite difficult to turn down to play basketball in prep school.

“My mom really told me that this was probably the best move because I am getting my body in order and not losing a year of eligibility.”

After spending his high school career playing 8-man football for the Indians, Obioha makes two transitions for his final high school game.

The first? 11-man play.

The second? Change from guard to tackle, a position that is not played in an eight-man game.

Hoxie's Harlan Obioha travels to a skills station during practice at Bethany College in Lindsborg on Tuesday morning.  The Kansas Shrine Bowl 2021 takes place on June 26th.

“It’s a whole different sport out here,” said Obioha. “8-man is completely different. It’s pretty tough. You have to have much faster feet and not have to use as much (and) passport protection.”

West coach Lucas Melvin noted Obioha had to adapt quickly, but the transition went smoothly.

“He deals with the other linemen and they help him,” said Melvin. “He’s doing a good job. If you’re such a long guy, you’ll be pretty good at tackling him.

“Harlan is a great athlete. Obviously he is also a very good basketball player and can play soccer. I think he keeps growing and learning what soccer is because he didn’t play it often in his childhood. He did a great job and he’s a great kid. “

At 6-foot-11 tall, Obioha has advantages that no other lineman on either the East or West teams has in this year’s game.

“I’ll get my hands first before everyone else,” Obioha said. “I have a lot more leverage in making everyone this big. I just want to do the best for the team. Anything I can do to help the team win is to keep the ball moving on offense . “

Obioha said he will never forget his Shrine Bowl experience and meeting with the kids all participants play for, and will represent Hoxie one last time.

“It means everything to me and all these guys, just go out there and beat the east, keep the lead for the west,” Obioha said. “You don’t see a lot of 8 man guys out here. To be one of those guys is really honorable and just blessed to be in that position.”

Minneapolis’ Spencer Davidson will also play the final game

Minneapolis' Spencer Davidson runs an overtaking track during practice on Tuesday morning at Bethany College in Lindsborg.  The Kansas Shrine Bowl 2021 takes place on June 26th.

Like Obioha, Minneapolis’ Spencer Davidson puts on his shoulder pads one last time.

Davidson, who signed up to continue his baseball career at Fort Hays State University, plays tight end for the West team.

“It’s great fun going to practice this week and looking forward to the game and helping the kids,” said Davidson. “It’s just a great way to end my career. It was really fun getting to know all of these guys.”

“Baseball has been my passion since I was little.”

Davidson added that he needed to know both the indoor and outdoor routes, run and pass options more than what he did in Minneapolis.

“I like the versatility,” said Davidson. “I don’t have to do everything the same with different pieces. I’m getting a bit versatile. It’s a lot of fun to be inside and outside.”

Melvin, whose Norton Bluejays have competed in Class 2A in the district game against Davidson and the Lions for the past two years, said he was fortunate to train Davidson at the Shrine Bowl.

“He’s another great kid, does what we ask of him, (has) great hands and a great body too, and is good for us to block too,” Melvin said. “He’ll help us out there.

“It’s much better to have him on your team than against you, that’s for sure.”

Hays’ Gaven Haselhorst is ready for a career at K-State

Gaven Haselhorst will put on the Hays High Indian helmet one more time before continuing his football career at K-State.

“Gaven, he’s very good,” said Melvin. “I feel like Gaven and a lot of the guys in defense are great players and guys like that are fun to coach.”

Haselhorst is Hays’ second selection in the past two years, with Hayden Brown playing in the game in 2020. He said it was a great feeling to be selected to play at the Shrine Bowl.

“I saw it on TV and it’s a good opportunity,” said Haselhorst. “Just clashing with high school friends and stuff one more time and against people who also play in K-State.”

AJ Johnson of Salina South and Trevor Erickson of Chapman were also selected to play at the Shrine Bowl.

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