Lawrence High football’s summer draft brings players together while dividing them

photo by: Nick Krug/Journal-World

Sporting a stylish white jacket, the third pick of the Lawrence High football draft, tight end Cole Watson grabs a hat and shakes hands with head coach Clint Bowen at 23rd Street Brewery on Monday, June 27, 2022.

Kem Allen didn’t go into the Lawrence High football team’s “Summer Showcase” draft on Monday with high expectations, but his newfound status as the Red Team’s top player gave him a degree of confidence that he expects to carry into Thursday’s scrimmage.

“I’m guaranteeing a win,” Allen said. “Our defense is stacked and our offense, we have the keys and the pieces right there.”

Allen’s claim sounded emphatic, but it certainly fit the spirit of the afternoon. Excitement, camaraderie and trash talking were commonplace as more than 45 players gathered at 23rd Street Brewery for the draft, which coach Clint Bowen began last year as a way to unite his players while dividing them.

Held in a format similar to the NFL Draft, everyone in attendance was assigned to the Red Team or the White Team, with the Lions’ assistant coaches overseeing the selections. After Matt Llewellyn, the restaurant’s managing partner, read out the names of those drafted as the draft’s “commissioner,” players emerged from the crowd, hugged and high-fived teammates, had their photos taken, donned their draft hats and sat for mock interviews.

Number one pick, center Dylan Alvarado is pictured with head coach Clint Bowen, right, and Matt Llewelyn, owner of 23rd Street Brewery during the 2022 Lawrence High football draft at the brewery on Monday, June 27, 2022.

“I think it’s just a neat event,” said Bowen, who participated in something similar when he served as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky in 2010. “Not that it’s anything near a real NFL Draft, NBA Draft or anything, but there’s still something special about getting your name called out in front of other people.”

The White Team, led by assistant Adam Green, held the first pick and selected junior center Dylan Alvarado, who climbed out of one of the restaurant’s booths to loud cheers, a smile on his face.

“It was exciting,” said Alvarado, who will be a first-time starter. “I kind of expected it because center is a very important position.”

Lawrence High head coach Clint Bowen greets defensive tackle Kem Allen after Allen was selected with the third pick of the 2022 Lawrence High football draft at 23rd Street Brewery on Monday, June 27, 2022.

The Red Team was up next, with assistant Jamie Resseguie choosing Allen, a junior nose tackle who figured he’d be chosen “somewhere in the teens.”

On and one they went for nearly 90 minutes, partitioning the Lions through 23 rounds. In an effort to provide fairness and balance between the teams, once a player was chosen, his backup or counterpart was assigned to the opposite team. For example, once the Red Team drafted Tyson Grammer, fellow quarterback Banks Bowen became part of the White Team.

By the end of the draft, a theme had emerged: Much of the starting defense was assigned to the Red Team and many starters on offense ended up on the White Team.

“I think we’re pretty good,” said Cole Watson, a senior tight end and outside linebacker who was the third player drafted and ended up on the White Team. “I think we’re going to have to help our D-line out a little bit but other than that, we’re going to be fine.”

Number four pick, linebacker Kenton Simmons is pictured with head coach Clint Bowen, right, and Matt Llewelyn, owner of 23rd Street Brewery during the 2022 Lawrence High football draft at the brewery on Monday, June 27, 2022.

Some players leaned especially hard into the glitz of the NFL’s event and showed up in style. Watson wore a white sport coat with black lapels over a black shirt. Grammer’s sparkling silver loafers accented his all-black ensemble. Senior cornerback Noah Kirk wore a blue suit with no shirt underneath, kicking off a trend mimicked by teammates Dom Ostronic, Nathan Blettner, Sam Sedo and Jaylon Didde.

“I’m hoping that means our strength program is working a little bit and they get something to actually show off,” Bowen said.

Players have been working out since the end of May, and Thursday’s game, which will be held at Lawrence High at 8 p.m., precedes one final week of workouts next month.

Wide receiver Dom Ostronic sports a blazer and shades as he is called to the stage with the ninth pick of the 2022 Lawrence High football draft at 23rd Street Brewery on Monday, June 27, 2022.

Bowen said he expects the scrimmage to be competitive, and while the scoreboard won’t be on, “they’ll know who’s winning and losing.”

Allen certainly will, but the outcome is not his only motivation.

“It’s just like a nice little time to come out with our team after putting all this work in during the summer and just kind of show it off to the people,” he said.

Lawrence High quarterback Tyson Grammer flashes his shoes after being selected with the tenth pick of the 2022 Lawrence High football draft at 23rd Street Brewery on Monday, June 27, 2022.

LHS “Summer Showcase” Draft

Player Drafted / Designated Player

1. Dylan Alvarado, White / Dalton Smart, Red

2. Kem Allen, Red / Andrew Nelson, White

3. Cole Watson, White / Brycen Newberry, Red

4. Kenton Simmons, Red / Arlo Collier, White

5. Will Hendricks, White / Steele White, Red

6. Tucker Corbin, Red / Jack Grimes, White

7. Zander Thomas, White / Noah Kirk, Red

8. Connor Nowak, Red / Elijah Gray, White

9. Dom Ostronic, White / Gabe Wingerd, Red

10. Tyson Grammer, Red / Banks Bowen, White

11. Brayden Heck, White / Noah Richardson, Red

12. Jaydon Brittingham, Red / Shawn Kalloch, White

13. Nathan Blettner, White / Jahir Johnson, Red

14. Tony Jacobsen, Red / Micahi Hernandez, White

15. Kyle Watson, White / Jaylen Parks, Red

16. Tate Meyer, Red / No pick

17. Matt Schmidt, White / Robert Gibler, Red

18. Sam Sedo, Red / No pick

19. Jaylon Didde, White / Brendan Lett, Red

20. Mason Mosiman, Red / Colin Hoffman and Parker Rodenbeek, White

21. Macade Lewis, White / Hayden Reese and Daizon Callahan, Red

22. Sutton Dye, Red / Elijah Hernandez, White

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