U.P. football stars conduct first practices

MARQUETTE – U.P. All-Star football players and coaches conducted initial practices for Saturday’s All-Star contest Monday at the Superior Dome.

West head coach Joe Reddinger of North Dickinson held a quick team meeting, then jumped right into practice. The West team broke up and spent time in individual drills with different groups working on position-specific skills and techniques.

The quarterbacks, receivers and backs started to develop some chemistry, and the lineman really began to settle in and work well with each other by the end of the second practice.

Reddinger brought Mike Christian from his own staff, and the other West coaches include: Jerry Reddinger (Joe’s brother) from Kingsford, Chad Brandt and Logan Carlson from Stephenson and Troy Reuter from Menominee.

The East is being led by Ishpeming’s Jeff Olson. His staff includes Scott Syrjala (2008 All-Star Coach) and Dion Brown, as well as Marty Spencer (2009 All-Star Coach), Brad Wiljanen (Bark River-Harris), Gordi Campbell and Michael Lynn (Sault Ste. Marie).

Even with football in the front of everyone’s mind again, the highlight of the day was the food drive which benefitted the Beacon House food pantry. Over 800 pounds of food was collected and donated by the players.

Today’s all-star schedule includes Media Day to be held in the evening. Team and individual pictures will be taken during that time.

Saturday’s game begins at 2 p.m. (Central) at the Dome. Admission is $5 in advance and $6 at the door.

Area players selected to the West team include Forest Park’s Derek Aberly; North Dickinson’s Cody Berg, Dominic Christian, Dylan Dario, Kenny Pekarek; Iron Mountain’s Paul Brooks, Taylor Huotari, Tony Ward, Matt Willman; West Iron County’s Cody Desjardins; Norway’s John Grayvold, Jr.; North Central’s Dyllion Hancheck; and Kingsford’s Reed Larson, Aidan Wienke.