Eighty-six Minnesota high school football players were selected to play in the All-State Football Showcase that happened Saturday, Dec. 7, at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Of the 86 players three represented Brainerd lakes area schools.

Staples-Motley fullback and linebacker Cade Schmidt led the Cardinals with 109 tackles to anchor the defense. He also had 445 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

The senior, who is getting looks from multiple Division II Colleges, thought it was a thrill to play on the big stage at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“Hearing my name announced, running through that tunnel and to get a few tackles during the game at U.S. Bank, I’ll never forget that,” Schmidt said. “Playing in front of my friends and family at U.S. Bank was pretty cool. I want to thank our community for their support -- I was proud to represent Staples-Motley on the state’s biggest field.”

Cade Schmidt.
Cade Schmidt.

Pierz tailback and defensive back Matthias Algrain has enjoyed a wealth of success his senior season. As if an undefeated season and state championship was not enough for the University of Nebraska commit. He played in the all-star game last Saturday under the familiar -- for him -- U.S. Bank Stadium lights.

“Usually when I’m there it’s all Pierz fans,” Algarin said. “This time I did not really know anyone in the stands.”

Algarin led the Pioneers in rushing with 1,272 yards, however, in the all-star game he only got one snap on offense. It went for a 40-yard catch. He spent the bulk of the game on defense where he never missed a snap. He also returned kicks and punts, which is something he is accustomed to doing.

For Algarin, it was a new experience playing in a game where he was not on the field 24/7.

Matthias Algarin.
Matthias Algarin.

“I am used to being one of the players on the team the coaches always try to get involved,” Algrain said. “Having all those kids there who come from their school as the best -- It was a lot being on the bench or on the sidelines sometimes.”

Algarin felt pride in telling those who asked that his school has won three of the last five state titles, including the most recent one.

Pillager tailback and linebacker Tucker Peterson represented the Huskies. Peterson rushed for 1,251 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The recent Bemidji State University football commit thought the all-star game was a fun experience. He mentioned all the athletes went to the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis Thursday, Dec. 5 and made blankets for cancer patients.

“We got split into groups and got to go talk to some cancer patients and learn more about them,” Peterson said.

For Peterson, one of the hardest parts was learning an offense in such a short amount of time. He loved the opportunity to meet new players and coaches.

“It was an honor,” Peterson said. “Just meeting some of the guys that you hear about on all these Twitter accounts and stuff. It’s cool to play with them and be apart of some of the best athletes in Minnesota.”

Tucker Peterson.
Tucker Peterson.

When the game started, Peterson was supposed to play running back, but since his team suffered injuries at wide receiver he played most of the game at slot receiver. He did not get any defensive snaps.

There was a sense of pride for each of the three local players as they represented their schools, but also the region as a whole.

“We are kind of the small-town kids heading down there,” Algarin said. “It was a little bit of a cool feeling. I know Tucker pretty well from track and I remembered Cade. To represent this area felt good to me. It’s a good feeling to represent your town and area. Representing those small-town schools and showing them that we have lots of talent too even though we may not have been heard of as much.”

Peterson echoed Algrain. These athletes will play college football next year and represent themselves and the area even more.

“Just always remember where you are from and represent your area well,” Peterson said.