Former Northside football standout Kodi Burns will be advancing in the Greatest All-Time Athlete from the Fort Smith Area tournament.
Burns posted solid wins in his second-round match-up against former Pocola basketball standout Scott Nelke on both the Times Record’s Twitter and Facebook polls.
On the Twitter poll, Burns garnered 85.1% of the votes while Nelke received 14.9%. Then in the Facebook poll, Burns picked up 82% of the vote to 18% for Nelke.
With the win, Burns - the No. 14 seed in the tournament - will move on to the 32-person third round. He will go up against the winner of the second-round poll involving No. 19 seeded Jalei Oglesby, the former Howe girls basketball standout, and No. 46 seed Matt Vinson, the former Alma and University of Arkansas baseball standout.
At Northside, where he was a three-year starter at quarterback, Burns helped lead the Grizzlies to back-to-back state semifinal appearances in 2004-05.
As a sophomore, he passed for 1,935 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 881 yards and five TDs; as a junior, Burns threw for 2,182 yards and 20 TDs while rushing for 965 yards and 11 TDs in helping the Grizzlies make their second straight state playoff semifinal appearance.
Then as a senior in 2006, Burns accounted for 2,738 yards of total offense and 36 total touchdowns as he was named All-State.
Burns then played at Auburn from 2007-10, and was a senior wide receiver in 2010 when the Tigers capped off a perfect season with the Bowl Championship Series national title, defeating Oregon. He scored the opening touchdown by catching a 35-yard pass.
From 2007-10, Burns earned four varsity letters at Auburn, excelling in a variety of roles. He was a quarterback his first two seasons at Auburn; in 2007, he became the first Auburn true freshman quarterback to start a game since 1998.
Burns moved to wide receiver for the second half of his career, as he accumulated nearly 2,300 total yards and 22 career touchdowns.
After getting into coaching, Burns eventually came back to Auburn, where he is currently the Tigers’ co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.
Nelke was a standout guard for the Pocola Indians, leading them to three LeFlore County Tournament championships and two trips to the state tournament before graduating in 1992.
Nelke continued his playing career with two seasons at Westark (now UAFS) before playing two more seasons at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla.
He has now been a long-time basketball coach, having served as the head coach for the Roland girls, the Sallisaw boys, the Poteau boys and the Pocola boys. Currently, Nelke is an assistant coach for Northside’s boys basketball team.
Second-round voting for the Greatest All-Time Athlete from the Fort Smith Area tournament continues on the Times Record’s Twitter and Facebook pages.