Stevens, a Trigg County eighth grader and center for the Midcats, was selected last month to participate in the game featuring the nation’s best middle school football players and practice sessions prior to the contest. He’s also set to attend an FBU camp this summer.
Stevens said the weekend started with a meet-and-greet session with participants in the US Army/Football University Youth All-American Bowl, the high school game played the same weekend. Stevens said he also had a chance to meet Vince Papale, whose rise from high school track coach to 30-year-old rookie with the Philadelphia Eagles – after not playing football in college – was the inspiration for the 2006 movie Invincible.
Stevens, who said he was also introduced to several college coaches and former NFL players, said the level of competition was by far the highest he’s played with and against.
“The defensive line we played against was really tough, but we had a pretty good offensive line,” Stevens said. “One of my coaches helped me on my shotgun snap because it was a little low. He helped me with some techniques to use.”
Ralph Stevens, Aaron’s father and a Midcat football assistant coach, said his son came away from the weekend motivated to continue to improve his skills.
“The coaches there taught him a lot of fundamentals, things I’ve worked with him on for years but didn’t really know how to do,” Ralph Stevens said. “I think he actually fell in love with being a center this weekend after having the right people work with him.”
At the end of the 2009 season, in which the Midcats finished 8-3 and advanced to the middle school Division 2 state tournament semifinals, Stevens was named All-State Honorable Mention at defensive nose guard and was one of five Trigg players – along with Mike White, Quentin Bird, Luke McKenzie and Warren Jones – selected to play in the Kentucky East-West All-Star Game.