It never really occurred to T.C. Nusser that he’d be following in his brother’s footsteps this summer.
Three years after his brother Dusty played in the inaugural North-South 3A All-Star football game, T.C. now has his turn in the annual senior-only game. He’ll represent Ram football one final time and make friends out of former district enemies.
“You really don’t like them before you go,” Nusser said, “but when you get there you realize they aren’t that bad of guys.”
Nusser is one of three Ram players selected for the July 17 game in Las Vegas, N.M. The contest was created in 2001 to give players from Class 3A schools a reasonable shot at an all-star game, something that didn’t exist under the 3A/4A/5A team format.
Teams were selected by a committee of Class 3A head football coaches from each of the four districts in the state.
The other Rams selected to the game were quarterback Seth Clabaugh and fullback Cole Parrish. Parrish welcomed the chance “to put on the red helmet again,” while Clabaugh misses the camaraderie.
“I really miss playing football,” Clabaugh said, “and hanging around with the guys, goofing around.
“I was happy that I got picked. Not everybody gets picked for it, so it’s nice to know that somebody’s watching.”
Clabaugh and Lovington’s Matt Palmer were the two quarterback selections. Lovington, the state runnerup, had 11 selections for the South All-Stars, followed by Ruidoso (four), Portales, Cobre (three), Socorro, New Mexico Military Institute (two) and Grants (one).
State champion St. Michael’s had seven selections for the North, and West Las Vegas had six.
The North will be coached by West Las Vegas’ James Esquibel, and the South by Ruidoso’s Ridge Bowden.
Parrish is one of four South running backs, joining Grants’ Cody Rivers and Lovington’s Jonathan Hernandez and Matt Snydor. Parrish spent his senior season filling in the void left by the graduation of 2003 game MVP Less Long.
Without Long and with the emergence of Clabaugh, Portales’ offense change to more of a pass-oriented one.
“We really didn’t run the ball to my position with our offense,” Parrish said. “When I got the ball, I felt like I did what I needed to do.
“I’m happy about it. I’m glad I get a chance to play.”