By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
When football season starts, Killeen High's Sam Jones and Salado's Jeff Cheatham are 24 miles and two classifications apart. For the inaugural FCA Super CenTex Victory Bowl to be held Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium, they are joined by one obvious bond – football – and another, not-so-obvious: position coaching.
"Football players are football players. Football coaches are football coaches. We have a unifying bond and that's football," Cheatham said. "It's just another day at the park."
The two head coaches will stand on the same Blue team sideline during Saturday's game, which starts at 6:30 p.m., but have been pitting their collection of recent Central Texas graduates against each other since Wednesday.
Cheatham is the Blue team's offensive line coach and Jones is the team's defensive line coach, a post he hasn't coached at Killeen since at least 1998, he said.
"It's been a whole new challenge," Jones laughed. "I asked (Killeen defensive tackle) coach (Greg) Russell about some things he does with technique ... but football is football."
Cheatham was last an offensive line coach about five years ago, he said.
"It's like riding a bicycle," Cheatham said. "You get back on it and go."
Cheatham has a last chance to coach his own former athletes, tackle Chase Stuckey and tight end Tyler Coker as well as Killeen guard Craig Watts, who will play football for West Texas A&M in the fall.
"It feels great to give them a last little hurrah and to see them around some good quality kids," Cheatham said about coaching Stuckey, who will play for Cisco College, and Coker, who will join teammate Patrick Prince at Mary Hardin-Baylor. "(Watts) is a good, good kid. He's smart and really great to coach."
Jones is surrounded by all new faces, though former Killeen linebacker Ronald Bogan will follow the lead of Jones' defensive line. The Roos will also be represented by receiver/cornerback Dane Beasley and receiver Deonte Epps.
"The players get a chance to play football, some of them for the last time," Jones said. "Hopefully, some of them will get seen and picked up to play somewhere.
"It's a chance for (Killeen High athletes) to play and a chance for the other Killeen kids to play, even though they're on the Red team."
The all-star game splits graduated seniors from 12 counties and more than 200 area high schools into two teams of 47. The 4A-based Blue team is coached by former Waco High coach Johnny Tusa. The 5A-based Red team is coached by China Spring's Mark Bell and both teams have athletes from the six-man to Class 3A ranks.
"It's kind of funny, you can see the difference in some positions," Cheatham said. "The kids are having a good time out there and playing hard. It doesn't really matter if they're from a 5A or a 1A team."
Bell was an assistant football coach and head tennis coach at Killeen High School and also coached Lampasas for a season before taking over in China Spring in 1997.
"Everybody talks football. We talk about what they do in China Spring and what we do in Killeen," Jones said. "You've got a bunch of head coaches together and everyone has their own ideas. It's been real good and real interesting."
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.