For the third time in as many years, Chambersburg is sending one of its own to one of the state's elite all-star football games.
Trojan linebacker Colten Brookens has been selected to the 14th annual Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East-West All-Star game. The game will be held on Sunday, May 3, at 2 p.m. at Downingtown. Tickets are $8 and will be on sale the day of the game.
"This experience has been awesome," Brookens said. "It's quite a transition going from a 1-9 team to playing some of the best players in Pennsylvania on the team. I love it. The guys couldn't be more welcoming and friendly."
Brookens and the team met for the first time last weekend for an all-day practice. Although the players have never performed in a football game next to each other, Brookens said it's not that difficult of a transition.
"There's that overall feeling of knowing that the guy beside me on the line was probably an all-conference player," Brookens said. "I don't have to worry about someone missing a tackle or giving up on a play. All around the board, we're covered. It's something new, but it's pretty awesome."
The majority of the players on the East team are headed for Division I programs. Brookens is still undecided about his future plans.
"I think playing in that game is going to open up some eyes of college coaches that may be around to see him," Chambersburg coach Mark Saunders said. "He can hang with the big boys, and honestly, I can see him being all over the field at the all-star game, making plays."
While at Chambersburg, Brookens was one of the team's most reliable linebackers. He finished the 2013 season with 97 tackles, and he capped off his senior season with 100.5, second only to Mitch Hollar.
"It's unfortunate that Mitch didn't get the opportunity to play also," Saunders said. "Colten has been one of our mainstays with what he brought to practice and games every day. For both of them, everything about their preparation includes intensity and a real physicality. Colten embodies everything we're trying to get our program to be."
Brookens was a Public Opinion First-Team All-Star in 2014 and was a second-team selection as a junior.
He is also keeping up a tradition of Trojans being selected to all-star games. In 2013, Aaron Reese played in the Big 33, and last year, Dymond Thomas also appeared in the East-West game.
"I hope this brings some attention to the program," Brookens said. "Obviously, we're a big enough school that we should attract some attention, but our record hasn't added up. But hopefully with me, Dymond and even Reese getting these opportunities draws more attention back to Chambersburg.
"What college scout wants to come to a 1-9 team? But that's where some of the best players come out of, because it's easy to give up in that situation. It's the people that do care that shine on those teams. I hope in the future, we have a bunch more kids going to these games."