Grayson Robinson and Aidan Mansfield, both rising eighth graders on the Reidsville Raiders Middle School football team, recently showed they’ve got the skills to compete with the best from across the country.
After qualifying regionally at a series of combines, both made the roster for the USA Football East-West All Star football game which was played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on the campus of Walsh University in Canton, Ohio on June 29.
The USAF game is an elite, invitation-only annual event that draws some of the most promising young talent from across the southeast United States.
Robinson has a particularly eye-opening day as he was selected as the overall Most Valuable Player of the game.
The combo running back / wide receiver scored two touchdowns and racked up 142 yards on the day on just three touches. It would have been, should have been more, as he had another 80-plus yard catch and run for a touchdown called back on a penalty.
Nevertheless, his Courage team defeated the Valor squad 28-16.
Mansfield also had a strong performance over the course of the game on both sides of the ball.
He proved to be a versatile player for the Raiders putting in quality minutes as an H-Back, tight end and outside linebacker.
The game was preceded by four days of practice where the kids received instruction from top high school and college coaches.
Raiders head football coach Reggie Chestnut had high praise for his budding stars and he said Robinson and Mansfield have a chance to make a huge impact on the gridiron for years to come at Reidsville.
“Our players learn a lot at an early age through our Next Level Skills Camp. We’ve got guys like Jerome Simpson, who played in the NFL, and current college players coaching them up, so they are getting coaching a lot of other players don’t get. That’s the thing about Reidsville football. We’ve got so many people come out and give back and it’s great to see these players showing what they can do at these national events. Both of them played well and I’m really proud of them,” Chestnut said.