Ciambrone enjoys experience
Emporia While several Baldwin High School runners helped make the all-star fun run a success, the main story from the weekend is always the annual football game.
It was once again another all-star game that came down to the final minute. Unfortunately, Baldwin High's representative in the game ended up on the losing side of the game here Saturday.
Anthony Ciambrone, a 2008 BHS graduate, was the Bulldogs' lone selection in the state's annual all-star game. He nearly helped the East team to victory, but it lost in the final minute of the game, 29-28.
"It was a lot of fun and the game went down to the wire," Ciambrone said. "We stopped the West team on a fourth down, but got called for roughing the passer, so their drive continued.
"They went down and scored a touchdown to be down by one point," he said. "Then they went for a two-point conversion and they made it."
The West team capped off a 12-play drive that only ate up 1:30 of the clock with a 17-yard touchdown pass. That score came only four minutes after the East team intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to take a 28-21 lead.
Before the interception return, the East did trail 21-14. However, with 6:27 remaining in the game, former Louisburg star Jason Spradling scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. That tied the game at 21-21.
Spradling was just one of the former opponents that Ciambrone teamed up with on the East all-star crew. Also competing was Eudora's Morgan Abel.
"It was pretty different playing with guys that you normally play against on the field," Ciambrone said. "Those guys included Spradling and Morgan Abel. It was pretty cool playing with them."
Ciambrone didn't start for the East squad, but he said he received a decent amount of playing time. He played both left and right guard on the offensive line.
That's where he earned all-state honors from two newspapers in the fall. He was voted to the first-team on the Topeka Capital-Journal and Wichita Eagle's teams.
BHS coach Mike Berg said Ciambrone was deserving of the Shrine Bowl honor when the team was released in January.
"It goes to show you all of the hard work that he has put in and the great season he had," Berg said. "Someone around the state has recognized that. I know the Shrine Bowl is one of the hardest teams to get picked for, because it involves the media and sometimes the media doesn't get all of the facts on every player."
Although the football game is the main attraction for the fans, it's not the only activity that the players participate in. Last week, they took a trip to the nearest Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis.
At the hospital, they visited with some of the children who are patients. That was one moment, Ciambrone won't soon forget.
"The hospital was very eye-opening to see those kids," he said. "It's pretty amazing what the Shriners do for basically free. It was something I'll never forget."
While in St. Louis, they also had some fun. The group toured the practice facility of the NFL's St. Louis Rams. They saw the weight room, locker room and the entire field.
"This was one experience that I'll remember for the rest of my life," Ciambrone said. "I'll never forget this. I was glad to have been chosen to play in the Shrine game."
He will now take his talents and play for Baker University this fall. He will join fellow 2008 BHS graduate Luke Weaver as a Wildcat.