salina south’s jason seibel looks to pass during practice at the shrine bowl west squad practice on friday, july 23, 2010 at st. john’s military school. (photo by jeff cooper/ salina journal) | buy journal photos


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lucas allen, salina, practices wednesday morning with the shrine bowl team. (photo by tom dorsey / salina journal)

time for transition: seibel will change positions; allen to focus on academics


by arne green/salina journal

the kansas shrine bowl means different things to different players.

for salina’s two participants in saturday’s 37th edition of the all-star classic, it offers a sense of closure.

lucas allen, salina central’s standout tight end, will give up football altogether after the game, scheduled for 7 p.m. at pittsburg’s carnie smith stadium. jason seibel is only handing over the quarterbacking keys.

“it gives me one last chance to give it a go at the quarterback position,” said seibel, who will play defensive safety this fall at butler community college. “it will be a lot of fun.”

allen will concentrate on school at kansas state, which means the shrine bowl is the last time he’ll put on a helmet and pads.

“it’s my last hurrah,” he said during a break from the west’s training camp at st. john’s military school. “i’m excited and having a lot of fun here.”

allen, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, was one of the state’s top receiving tight ends at central, where he caught 29 passes for 464 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior. he had football offers from several junior colleges and small ivy league schools but chose to give his full attention to studies instead.

but when offered one last chance to get on the field in the shrine bowl, he didn’t hesitate.

“i never considered not playing,” he said. “it’s just such an honor that there’s no way you can turn it down.

“plus, now that i’m here, i’m having a really good time.”

seibel, who was recruited primarily as a defensive back, gave south opponents headaches as an option quarterback.

as a senior, he led the cougars to the second round of the class 5a playoffs, rushing for 1,311 yards and 14 touchdowns, plus throwing for 846 yards and seven more tds.

“i’m too small, and you’ve got to be able to throw the ball,” the 5-11, 175-pound seibel said of playing quarterback at the next level. “i can’t throw to save my life.

“i just run the ball.”

west head coach randall zimmerman of junction city wasn’t so quick to dismiss seibel’s passing ability. but he does offer a stark contrast to mcpherson’s joel piper, the other west quarterback.

“he’s got a lot of physical skills,” zimmerman said of seibel, who also was a state champion wrestler at south. “he throws the ball really well, and this is a new system he’s learning.

“he’s a really good option quarterback who runs the ball well and reads really well.”

until last football season, seibel assumed he’d go on to wrestle — his father gary is south’s wrestling coach — in college. then his success on the football field opened new doors.

he chose perennial national powerhouse butler over hutchinson community college.

“i’ve been working out (in el dorado) for about three weeks,” he said. “there’s a lot of guys trying out for safety, but i should have a good chance to play.”

the football workouts at butler gave seibel a distinct advantage over allen coming into the shrine training camp.

“i tried to get in shape, but it’s definitely harder than i expected,” said allen, who played on the central tennis team in the spring but has done limited football conditioning. “but throughout the week as it’s been going on i’m feeling more and more in shape.

“for the past month i ran a couple of miles and worked out here and there but nothing very serious — nothing like i should have been doing.”

zimmerman said saw no evidence that allen was struggling during practices that have seen temperatures in the 90s.

“he’s a very good football player, and i’ve enjoyed being around him,” zimmerman said. “he’s a good receiving tight end, and he really competes in the running game.”

seibel and allen both said they’ll take good memories from the shrine bowl.

“the shrine hospital was pretty cool, seeing the kids we’re playing for,” seibel said of the team’s trip to st. louis last weekend. “and it’s been fun hanging out with all the dudes from across the state of kansas.”

allen was pleased just to be chosen.

“i had no idea that i was going to be able to play at this level, or even have the opportunity to,” he said. “hanging out with the guys and getting to know each other is the whole point of this thing.

“that and going to the shriner hospital and seeing those little kids makes it all worthwhile. it’s all about the experience.”

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