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Boteo, Williams, Mann,Owens make MAIS All-Star team

Nolan Owens walked off the field wrapped in an emotional embrace with assistant coach Jeremiah Dent as his last game in an Adams County Christian School uniform Wednesday night.

“He (Dent) has always been the one that has kept me calm during games,” Owens said. “Me and him talk about how we can make the team better everyday. We have been working together to make this team better. He has always gone out of his way to help me get college scholarships.”

ACCS’s heartbreaking loss to Cathedral is not the final game for Owens, or for his fellow teammate Juan Boteo. The two made the MAIS All-Star team, and will play in a game together one last time.  Owens said he learned he was an all-star through an email, and it was a dream come true.

“It shows me all my hardwork I put in on and off the field (paid off),” Owens said. “The constant days of practice, individual work, going out and playing on the weekends. It really meant something in making the MAIS All-Star team.”

Owens has played soccer since the spring semester of his eighth grade year. Those four and a half years of soccer have developed him into a better player and a leader, he said. His next step is to go to community college and play soccer for as long as he can.

He said when he graduates from college he wants to become a teacher and a coach. Just last week, Owens was coaching the junior varsity team at halftime of their game against Oak Forest.

“It is always good to help the younger guys out,” Owens said. “We have a lot of seniors on this team, and once we leave it will just be the younger guys left. To be able to teach those guys a thing or two really means a lot to me. It gives me hope that they will want to grow up and become better players. They will want to help out the guys that are younger than them too.”

Owens and Boteo will join district foes, and now fellow all-stars Kennedy Williams and Zach Mann from Cathedral on the field. While his relationship with Boteo is one of rivalry, Williams said the two text each other and have a respect for one another off the field.

Cathedral Head coach Dennis Hogue said he was pleased to advocate for Boteo, Owens, Mann and Williams in addition to the three other players from the district who made the team. Brookhaven Academy had one player, and Oak Forest had two players make the all-star team.

“The district as a whole could probably field our own all-star team,” Hogue said. “We got a lot of talent in our district. I’m super proud that we squeezed in seven. I think that speaks volumes for our district.”

The MAIS All-Star game will be played on March 4 at Jackson Academy, the game is supposed to begin at 3 p.m. Cathedral still has some playoff games to play, and Williams said it is nice to know he still has the all-star game left to play if the Green Wave loses in the playoffs.

Williams said ever since he was in eight grade he dreamed of making the all-star team. He recalls seeing an email that he made the all-star team and then he got a text from Mann who encouraged Williams that he was going to make the team.

“He was like ‘Hey I know you are going to get one, I know you are going to get one. Just remember, keep faith and you will get one,’ I was down and out for a minute. I was like I know God got me,” Williams said.

When he received, the email announcing he was on the team, Williams and Mann discovered something else.

“We saw we were on the same team together,” Williams said. “We have grown so much closer over the season together. I thank God for that. He has really become a brother of mine. It is just amazing to see we are on the same team.”

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