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MARQUETTE, MI – The U.P. Football All-Star Game created quite a buzz this year by changing the most basic premise of the game, how the teams are divided. 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the U.P. summer football classic. The biggest change for this year’s game is that the teams will not be aligned East vs West, or North vs South, which has been the case each of the first nine years of the game. Instead, all players selected as all-stars were “drafted” by the coaches, just like fantasy football leagues. The players are on either the Red Team or the Black Team.
The draft took place on Saturday, March 18th, at Buffalo Wild Wings in Marquette, and the picks were reported live on social media for all who wanted to follow the progress. The coaches from both teams were in attendance and had lots of notes, lists and spreadsheets on all the players, and who they wanted to pick at each position.
As the draft unfolded, it was obvious that the coaches had taken their job seriously and did their research, because they were drafting players from throughout the U.P., and not just their own specific areas. The coaching staffs are very diverse, so they had much input from other coaches who saw the players compete in person throughout the year. The teams also are a mixture of players never seen before, so not only will players be competing against traditional rivals this year, they might also be competing against players on their own school’s team.
Fathers and Sons Get One Last Game Together
In past All-Star Games, there have been a handful of fathers who are coaches and have had their sons play in the game. It makes for a fun atmosphere to have the fathers coaching them one last time in high school. In most instances, it is the last game the sons ever play football, because most do not go on to play in college, but it is definitely the last time the fathers are able to coach them.
This year, there are seven (7) players who have fathers coaching in the game (the most ever in one All-Star Game, by far), so they were automatically placed on their father’s respective teams prior to the draft. Those players and fathers are as follows: RED Team: John Paramski-Newberry (Coach Pete Paramski), Jordan Belec-Carney Nadeau (Coach Jim Belec), Jason Sutherland-Lake Linden Hubbell (Coach Leon Sutherland), Lincoln Klein-Lake Lincoln Hubbell (Coach Ken Klein); BLACK Team: Isaac Olson-Ishpeming (Coach Jeff Olson), Drew Marshall (Coach Iffer Marshall), Iver Stenberg (Coach Al Stenberg).
After the sons were placed on the teams, and the basic rules of the draft were reviewed, the draft got underway. The BLACK Team got the first pick, because the RED Team had 4 sons on the their team vs 3 sons on the BLACK Team. After the first pick, the teams alternated picks until all players were chosen. Specific rules were in place to ensure that each team selected the proper number of players at each position.
When it was all done, the coaches were very happy with their teams and excited to continue strategizing what they will do with the personnel they chose. Now that they have their players, the coaches need to decide where to play them, on offense or defense, which position they will play, and how they will fit into their plans.
Overall, the draft was a huge success and provided a great amount of excitement and energy at this point in the 10th year of the game. There are a couple new things in store for the underclassmen to get them more involved, which will be released soon, now that the draft has been completed. Stay tuned.
The completed rosters are listed below.
|RED TEAM PLAYERS|
|Tristan||Johnston||Sault Ste Marie|
|Ryan||Lohrey||West Iron County|
|Seth||Miatech||West Iron County|
|Jared||Sawyers||Sault Ste Marie|
|Dante||Thurston||West Iron County|
|RED TEAM COACHES|
|BLACK TEAM PLAYERS|
|A.J.||Weisnicht||West Iron County|
|BLACK TEAM COACHES|