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All good football players start somewhere

North Chicago cheerleaders (from left) DarixzRodriguez Carolyn Davis MyrkettMiller all sophomores cheer for their team. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

North Chicago cheerleaders (from left) Darixza Rodriguez, Carolyn Davis, and Myrketta Miller all sophomores cheer for their team. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

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The North Suburban Conference picked an all-league cheerleading squad this year, and announced the honorees in a press release recently.

Unfortunately, North Chicago High School’s two all-conference picks were left off the list.

They were Carolyn Davis (far left) and Jewel Gill (left), and you hopefully will see them on TV cheering from Peoria when the Class 3A state-championship boys basketball game is played between North Chicago and Morgan Park.

Updated: March 24, 2013 7:54PM

News you can use ... Or maybe not.

A couple of weeks back, some area high school senior football players signed letters of intent to play college football at the college of their choice.

If you’ve ever wondered where those players got their start, here’s one answer.

According to Jonathan Hadnott, who runs a flag football program that’s based in Zion, some of the area’s top seniors got their gridiron starts playing in the NFL-sanctioned flag football program that Hadnott heads locally.

Ryan Sweeney and Devonte Wilcox from Warren both signed to play at Winona State in Wisconsin, and Kent Richter from Warren will play at Lakeland in Wisconsin. Also part of the flag program and playing college ball will be Warren senior Connor Iwema.

Currently, registration is under way for this spring’s program in Zion, and Hadnott hopes to get one going in the Round Lake area, as well.

The trade Waukegan’s own Jereme Richmond made — spending four days in Lake County’s jail in exchange for the opportunity to play semi-pro basketball with a team about 175 miles southwest of here — seems like a good one for the former prep star.

Is playing with the Sauk Valley Predators semi-pro squad (players do get paid a bit) going to lead to a future in pro hoops for the 6-7 Richmond, whose basketball career has gone off the tracks?

Probably not.

But what this will do for the 20-year-old is give him structure, which is crucial for everyone, but especially important for young people.

There is nothing more important for young people than to have some direction in their lives.

Richmond now will have direction. Maybe the routine will be as simple as working on physical conditioning for 90 minutes in the morning, and then dribbling a basketball for an hour, and then making the three-hour drive to practice or a game.

But whatever it is, it’s a short-term game plan for a kid who needs a game plan right now.

Actually, this isn’t any different than young people who are working at WalMart or Mickey D’s.

Nobody’s going to get rich working there, but that job provides short-term structure for kids who need it right now.

So, good for the people who work there. We may not hold the company you work for in the highest regard, but you are respected for giving your life some structure.

What these kids do within that structure — including Richmond — is up to them.

But the guess here is that this is a way better short-term solution for Richmond than any others that were offered.

Good news on the Akeem Springs front. The four-year varsity player at Waukegan High School is now enrolled at Mississippi Valley State University after starting his college career last fall at NIU in DeKalb.

Since transfer rules require a player to sit out two semesters, Akeem will sit out this spring and next fall, and then will start playing for MVS at the end of the first semester.

Akeem’s family lives in that area and there are a host of family members currently attending MVS. A top student, he’ll thrive in the classroom wherever he’s going to school.

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