INSTITUTE, W.Va. - Mike Bartram of Wayne and Brent Setser of Tolsia have spots secured on college rosters, but that doesn't mean they will take it easy this week at the North-South Football Classic.
The standouts from Wayne County said they will soak in every moment of practice and give their best efforts during the game, which kicks off at noon Saturday at South Charleston High School. Both will play for the South.
"The last three days I've learned a lot to take with me to college," said Bartram, a 6-foot, 216-pound linebacker headed to Marshall University. "We have a good coaching staff that's pushing us hard."
The South is led by head coach David Moneypenny of Fayetteville. His assistants are Brad Dingess and Brent Terry of Spring Valley, John Lilly of Independence and Jeremy Moore of Midland Trail.
Setser, an offensive lineman likely to play guard in college at West Virginia State, said he is impressed by the staff.
"The coaching is excellent," Setser said. "I've learned some things. I love it."
Wayne is a Class AA team and Tolsia Class A. Bartram and Setser said they relish the challenge of playing against stars from Class AAA teams such as Parkersburg, Musselman, Spring Mills and others.
"I expect high-level competition," said Setser, who transferred to Tolsia from Sheldon Clark High in Inez, Kentucky, before his sophomore season. "The best players are here and not many people get selected for this game. We played a strong schedule at Tolsia and that helps when you get in a game with competition like this."
While the North-South game is an exhibition, the players compete hard. Bartram said he expects the best from himself each time he straps on the helmet and pads.
"It's a little overwhelming because we're very busy," Bartram said "I think that will help prepare me for college. I'm having a great time and making great friendships. This whole team is competitive."
Setser said he will go as full bore as the rules allow. North-South rules include no blitzing and other such bans to rules from regular-season games.
"We're restricted in some ways," Setser said. "It's not that bad."