Max Closson

Max Closson (left) of Gering blocks Ogallala’s Lucas Paloucek during a West Nebraska all-star football practice last week.

When he first saw his name on the roster for the 2019 West Nebraska All-Star Football game, Gering graduate Max Closson could barely keep his excitement contained. He told his parents and word spread that Closson would represent the Bulldogs at the summer all-star matchup.

For Closson it was a special moment, not only would he be the only player from Gering, but he would follow in his older brother, Alex, footsteps as an West Nebraska All-Star.

“Not a lot of Gering players get to go so seeing my name for the all-star game was very special for me,” Closson said. “I was just really excited.”

That excitement only continued to build as All-Star week approached. It was a big goal for him entering his senior season and for his high school career to culminate with the best players around the state was a big accomplishment.

The West team spent the first day getting to know each other as teammates, rather than opponents. But for some like Closson, it didn’t take long to develop a friendship with his new teammates. He spent most of the spring getting to know some of the other lineman at track meets, so it was just like catching back up with a good friend.

“I threw shot and disc with a lot of the guys and had been talking to them all spring,” he said. “So it was kind of just like going back to school and talking to your friends, for me anyways. I had a fun time last week getting to know everybody and getting to play in the all-star game.”

Although it was a low scoring affair on Saturday night at Bearcat Stadium in Scottsbluff, Closson still has plenty of memories. There was only one score in the All-Star game, a short touchdown pass from the West’s Arik Doty of Sidney to Ogallala’s Lucas Paloucek in the second quarter. But the touchdown was set up by a turnover, one of many in the game, caused by Closson. Closson breached the backfield and forced the East team’s ball carrier to cough up the ball, allowing the West to take control in the red zone.

Closson said it was exciting to help contribute to the game’s only touchdown.

“That fumble that turned into the only score in the game I caused,” Closson said. “I just thought it was exciting to get a turnover so close to our endzone and finally get a score. That ended up being the only (score).”

Now that his high school football days are done, Closson plans to attend Western Nebraska Community College in the fall with hopes of pursuing a degree in automotive mechanics.

Sports Reporter

Preston Goehring is a staff reporter at the Star-Herald. Contact him at 308-632-9051 or by email at