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Jackets' Wells all-star coach

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By Robert Howey

Lancaster County will have a pair of links to the Palmetto State’s premier high school all-star football games this fall.Buford High School head football coach Mike Wells will coach in the 61st annual North-South All-Star football game at Coastal Carolina University on Dec. 13.Lancaster native Keith Crolley, the head football coach at Crestwood High School in Sumter, is a member of the 2008 S.C. Shrine Bowl coaching staff for the 72nd annual game to be played in Spartanburg on Dec. 20 at Wofford College’s Gibbs Stadium.The all-star coaching staffs were announced at the annual S.C. Football Coaches Association clinic in Myrtle Beach over the weekend.Wells, 48, said he’s excited about the all-star opportunity.“I think it will be a lot of fun and the chance to coach some of the best players in the state is what I consider a thrill,” Wells said. “As with any football game, there’s a lot of preparation, but this is something you work for and look forward to being a part of in your career.”Wells, a 24-year coaching veteran, has been the Buford High School head football coach for seven seasons. During that time, he has led the Jackets to a 37-38 record. The 2007 Jackets went 6-5 and earned a berth to the Class AA Lower State football playoffs. The Jackets’ 2007 schedule included six playoff teams and a highlight for BHS was a 19-7 home win over eventual Class A Div. I state champion Chesterfield High School.Wells’ selection marks a second all-star coaching experience during his tenure at Buford High School. In 2000, the Ware Shoals native served as an assistant coach in the North-South All-Star baseball game when he was the Buford High head baseball coach.The 2008 North coaching staff includes head coach Wayne Greene (Belton Honea Path), Robin Bacon (A.C. Flora), Quay Farr (Spring Valley), Tom Owens (Gaffney), Karl Andreas (Dorman) and Wells.He is married to the former Sheri Howle, the principal at Buford Middle School.The North, which holds a 32-24-2 edge in the series, downed the South 26-10 last fall when it posted its third consecutive win. Indian Land High School veteran assistant Bob LeRoy served as a North assistant on a staff led by North Central High School head football coach Ron Blackmon, a Heath Springs native.The South staff included Lancaster County natives Al Berry (Dutch Fork High School), Art Craig (Timberland High School) and Crolley.Crolley, 46, will be part of the Sandlapper staff, which includes Westside of Anderson’s Ted Luckadoo as head coach and assistants Bob Hayes (Wando High of Mt. Pleasant), Jay Frye (Richland Northeast), Mickie Crocker (J.L. Mann High of Greenville), Steve Hart (Andrews) and Joel Rice (Christ Church Episcopal School of Greenville).South Carolina leads the series over the Tar Heel stars, 39-28-4. Lewisville head coach Floyd Drum was a Sandlappers’ assistant in S.C.’s 31-24 win last season.A 24-year coaching veteran, Crolley has been the head coach at Crestwood High for 10 seasons, compiling a 64-54 record. The 2007 Knights went 11-3 and fell to Wilson High School of Florence in the Class AAA Lower State championship game.“This is a major honor,” Crolley said. “When you get into coaching, this is something you aspire to do and look forward being a part of. This is where you want to take your career. I’m excited and I think it will be fun.”Colley, married to the former Beverly Faulkenberry of Lancaster, is a 1979 graduate of Lancaster High School where he played football under former Bruins’ coach Curtis Threatt.Crolley has also coached at Lakewood High School of Sumter and Hillcrest High School of Dalzell.Crolley’s brother, Greg, coached in the Shrine Bowl in 2006 and the was a North-South All-Star coach in 2003.