ADA — If semi-pro football players received pay, most of the Oklahoma Outlawz would be looking for some overtime bucks this spring.

The Outlawz, one of the Central Football League’s biggest success stories during a season in which they came within one half of a trip to the CFL title game, will have 15 representatives on the South squad for Saturday’s All-Star Game (5 p.m.) at Rose Field in Midwest City. And Mark Barrett, who led the Outlawz to nine wins in 12 games in his first season as head coach of the Ada-based team found out this morning he would be the South's head man for Saturday’s contest.

Barrett believes the Outlawz could have had more all-stars.

“It’s a shame that we couldn’t get more than the 15 on the team, because there are so many more who deserved to be on it,” Barrett said. “We had to submit a list of 22, and the league chose the 15 to play. It’s a privilege to be coaching some of the Outlawz again.”

And the All-Star Game won’t be Barrett’s final opportunity to put his team through its paces this month. The Outlawz and the other three members of the CFL final four — the Arkansas Warriors, the South Division champion North Texas Falcons and the league champion Joplin Crusaders — will face the Wichita Wild arena league squad in a series of four exhibition contests beginning Saturday (when Arkansas visits Wichita). Barrett’s club will travel to Kansas to play the Wild on Saturday, June 9.

“We are excited about going up to Wichita to play the Wichita Wild on June 9,” Barrett said. “Some of my players could play in the arena league, and this will give them an opportunity to get noticed.”

Most of the Outlawz starters will have a chance to be noticed Saturday as well, including several who were at or near the top of CFL statistical categories.

Quarterback Keith Jones, who capped an outstanding first season in the CFL with a season-high 365 yards passing in the Outlawz’ 38-34 loss to North Texas in the South Division title game, and his two favorite receivers will both on the South squad for the All-Star Game. Jones finished the season with 780 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air, and he rushed for 1,274 yards and 17 touchdowns on 211 carries as the focal point of the Outlawz offense.

T. R. Kanuch, who led the team with 53 receptions and seven touchdown catches, and big-play receiver Sean Pulliam (24 catches for 483 yards and six scores) are also on the squad, along with fullback T. R. Kaanuch, kick returner Brandon Smith, center Steve West and tackles Ken Zartner and Carl Owens.

The Outlawz will have eight All-stars on the defensive side of the ball, including safety Daniel Crites, who set a CFL record with 17 interceptions, and Omega Holman, who had over 100 tackles from his linebacker spot.

Other local representatives include linebacker Kwame Ferguson, cornerback Cebo Young, safety Kirby Hogue and defensive ends Winford Hood (like Jones a member of the 2006 East Central University squad) and Brice Gaddy.

Barrett said the All-Star selections were just the latest highlight for teams that was on the verge of folding after the 2006 season but is expected to enter the 2008 campaign as one of the CFL’s most stable franchises.

“It was an exciting and successful year for the Outlawz, and I am personally looking forward to next year,” Barrett said. “We’re hoping to get a lot of players to tryouts and mini-camps and to bring a championship to Ada. We were just one game away this year.”

This Week's Circulars