Burcham moves to playing field for N/S game

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

WILLOW WOOD - Cory Burcham will have the best seat in the house.

The former Symmes Valley Vikings running back and safety spent last year in the stands at Crew Stadium watching the Ohio High School Football Coaches annual North/South All-Star Game.

This year Burcham has upgraded his seat to playing status after being selected to play for the South All-Stars in Saturday's annual football classic.

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"I was really excited. I went there last year (to watch) and I thought it would be cool to be part of it," Burcham said.

The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Burcham was one of the main reasons the Vikings won three straight Southern Ohio Conference championships and qualified for the postseason playoffs. The Vikings reached the Division IV Regional finals this past season for the first time in school history.

Burcham was not only a first team All-SOC selection, he was first team all-district for the second straight year and was a second team All-Ohio pick by the Associated Press. In a balanced backfield this past season, Burcham ran 97 times for 651 yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season. He also caught six passes for 92 yards.

But Burcham figures to play in the South secondary in the all-star classic.

"It's going to be tough. Around here (Southeast Ohio), there's not that many talented receivers

as there will be at this game. I'll have to be on my A-game," Burcham said, whose best time in the 40-yard dash is 4.5 seconds. "Everybody in this game is big and fast."

Burcham, who reported Sunday at Otterbein College for practice, said he met most of the team at a walk-through practice last month.

"They're all really nice guys to be around. They're good friends," Burcham said. "I just want to do the best I can, meet some new friends, have a good time and compete with the best in Ohio."

Burcham said he hasn't changed his preparations for the game from his regular routine he used while playing for the Vikings.

"I've been running almost every day and lifting weights," he said.

Although the players will be somewhat unfamiliar to Burcham, there will be one face he will recognize immediately. Vikings head football coach Rusty Webb is one of the South assistant coaches.

"He'll help me out. It's good to have him there," Burcham said.

Burcham plans to attend Ohio University Southern this fall and will enroll in the nursing program.

"I thought about playing (college football) all last year, but I don't think it would be for me. I just want to stay around here and study for what I want to be," Burcham said.