Concord's Cameron Lain didn't take the normal path when it came to becoming a standout football player.
Lain got a late start when it came to playing the sport and in high school he exhibited patience before blossoming as a player during his senior season.
Others noticed the impact Lain could make on a football field and he was rewarded with a spot on the North squad in the Indiana Football Coaches Association All-Star game Fridayat 7:15 p.m. at Indianapolis North Central High School.
"I'm extremely excited to make this team," said 6-foot-1, 203 defensive lineman. "When I was young I knew this was a prestigious game and I looked up to the players that played in the game. I wanted to work hard and play in this game and play college football. (Concord football) coach (Craig) Koehler taught me a lot and I worked hard and made this All-Star team."
Lain started on the defensive line for just his senior year at Concord.
"There were a lot of seniors starting on the defensive line when I was a junior," Lain said. "Those were really good players to look up to. I had to prove myself as a senior and fill their shoes and replace them."
Lain felt his junior year prepared him to contribute quickly as a senior.
"During my junior year I started a little and I went up against some big offensive line on our team and in games who tested me," Lain said. "I thought I passed with playing colors when I played in our (preseason) scrimmage during my senior year. I realized I would be fine."
Koehler watched and admired the maturation process of Lain as a football player.
"As a junior he was our fifth guy on our defensive line and a plug in guy," said Koehler. "We had a lot of seniors playing. During his senior year Lain became our best defensive lineman."
The combination of work ethic and talent helped Lain become elite and a first team All-Northern Lakes Conference selection this past year.
"He's gotten better physically, for sure," Koehler said. "He's gotten stronger and put on weight.
"I think he's a smart kid that understood that he kind of had to take the next step and have a certain confidence level.
"He's a relentless player that plays through the whistle. He's never a guy that you have to get on to sprint to the ball and play every play. You don't have to get on him about giving effort. He's a high motor guy.
"Cameron is the smallest defensive lineman down here, but on 1-on-1 stuff with the offensive lineman he's a difficult assignment. He's got a really good get-off and is super explosive. A big part of playing on the defensive line is getting off the ball and he's done a really good job with that. He can rush the passer and get off the edge. Big offensive lineman had a hard time pass blocking him. He's done a good job defending the run too."
Lain wasn't actively into sports until the seventh grade.
"I was home-schooled a good part of my life," Lain said. "I told my mom (Stephanie) that I wanted to get into sports. I got into public school in the seventh grade and I wrestled. I participated in wrestling, football and track in the eighth grade."
Lain just concentrated on playing football in high school.
"Oh man, I love the teamwork that takes place in football," Lain said. "Wrestling and track are more individual sports. If one person doesn't do their job in football it hurts the team. It's a very bonding sport and you can't be selfish. You have to be selfless. I love the coaches I've had for football and what they've taught me."
Players and coaches reported Tuesday for the all-star game. Six practices precede a walk-through on Friday morning leading up to the game.
"It's a tight schedule," Koehler said. "You wake up and you're on a regimented schedule. There's not a lot of down time."
Koehler, who is coaching in the game for the first time and coaching the defensive lineman, has been impressed with Lain's play this week.
"He's doing a tremendous job," Koehler said. "We have a talented defensive line group and he's part of those guys."
Lain feels that this week will help prepare him for college football at Indiana Wesleyan University.
"I love going up against these guys and seeing that competitiveness," Lain said. "The coaches are great and are helping me a lot. It's very exciting. I enjoy practices with all these guys and building friendships. There are all-region and all-state players that are helping me get better."
Koehler, who's entering his fifth year as Concord's football coach, is as excited as Lain to be a part of the game.
"It's an awesome experience for me and the kids," Koehler said. "It has been refreshing to come come down here and coach the defensive line and be an assistant coach."
Other local players on the team are NorthWood's Bronson Yoder (free safety), Northridge's Reece Lueking (defensive tackle) and Penn's Ashton Bradley (offensive lineman).
"There are two great teams full of great players," Lain said. "Both teams are working hard. I can't wait to see what happens in the game."