Apollo-Ridge’s Kent Harkleroad ready to face best in all-star game

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Saturday, June 1, 2019 | 9:23 PM


Kent Harkleroad soon will put on the helmet and jersey of the Waynesburg football team.

But before that, the Apollo-Ridge senior will suit up for one more one more high school game.

Harkleroad, a 5-foot-9, 260-pound offensive and defensive lineman, will join his teammates on Team Never Fear against Team Different on Sunday in the Never Fear Being Different all-star game at Cupples Stadium.

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

“I am really thankful for the (NFBD) organization for this opportunity,” Harkleroad said. “I love the game, and to get one more high school game is a great feeling.”

Social media connected Harkleroad with NFBD organization head and all-star game coordinator Jordon Rooney.

“A Geneva recruit posted something about the game, and I like the post,” he said. “Later that day, Jordon sent me a message on Twitter and sent me an application for the game and told me to filled it out. The next day, I got an official invitation to the game.”

Harkleroad will be on opposite sides one more time against conference foes Dino Tomlin from Shady Side Academy and Kam Williams and Tony Hill from Steel Valley.

“We played Dino for my entire high school career,” Harkleroad said. “I started three of those games, and he was the name we were always talking about. We knew we always had to take care of him and cover him and get around him. We got to play Steel Valley this past season. Those guys are great players, too.”

Harkleroad said he’s excited to team with and go up against players from larger schools in and out of the WPIAL.

He will be on the same teams as 11 players from PIAA 5A state champion Penn Hills and others from schools such as Upper St. Clair, McKeesport and West Allegheny.

Of the 70 players on both rosters, all but 11 are from the WPIAL or City League. Team Different features players from schools such as Gateway, Woodland Hills and South Fayette.

Division I players dot the roster for both teams.

“I thought to myself when I went into the locker room for practice that I’ve never been around this much talent, ever,” Harkleroad said.

Harkleroad said he and his new teammates formed fast connections through practice sessions this week.

Harkleroad is listed as a guard for the game, but, he said, he also might play defense.

“The offensive line, we’re really solid right now,” he said. “It’s basic, simple plays. Nothing too complicated. The chemistry is there.”

Harkleroad was no stranger to playing both ways at Apollo-Ridge.

“Defense line (tackle and end) is my primary position, and it’s been a while since I played guard,” said Harkleroad, the Vikings starting center the past two seasons.

Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba is confident Harkleroad will fare well.

“This is big for him and big for the school,” Skiba said. “I checked those rosters, and they are full of some serious athletes from the WPIAL and elsewhere. He’s going to have a great opportunity to play against some of the best in the area and show what he can do. I am really excited and happy for him.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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