Week-long schedule of events for U.P. All-Star football game begins

MARQUETTE – U.P. Football All-Star Game has finalized the schedule and East-West teams for this year’s event.

The game will be played at the Superior Dome on Saturday, June 28. Game time is set for 2 p.m. (Central time), with the doors opening at 1 p.m. Admission is $5 in advance; $6 at the door.

Bill Santilli, who stepped down as Forest Park head coach after this past season, will lead the West team and also serve as guest speaker for the banquet.

Santilli, a member of the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame, has won state championships as a Forest Park player and coach.

“His Forest Park teams have been some of the best in the state on a yearly basis,” said a U.P. All-Star Game spokesman. “He will have a great message for everyone in attendance.”

Assisting Santilli will be new Forest Park head coach Dave Graff and assistant Gerard Valesano; Bob Madigan and Brad Grayvold of Norway, and Ken Klein of Lake Linden.

The West roster features many area players including Cole Tengesdahl, Jake Allen and Jake Coughlin, Kingsford; Craig Qualley, Joe Axberg, Jack Merrill and James Christiansen, Iron Mountain; Eric Prestay, Zack Ryan,Travis Vincent, Andy Estrada and Josh Granquist, North Central; Matt Schultz, Brad Gustafson and Tim Hruska, North Dickinson; Andrew Ridolphi, Bryson Heimerl, Chasz Jonet, Colton Pangrazzi and Andrew Peterson, West Iron County; Ray Tomasik, Jeff Johnson and Austin Snell, Forest Park; Jorden Neumann, Norway.

St. Ignace’s Marty Spencer will guide an East roster highlighted by Ishpeming standout Alex Briones.

Many activities are planned throughout the week for the players and coaches.

U.P. Football All-Star Game will also be donating proceeds to U.P. charities Beacon House, U.P. Sports Hall of Fame, as well as Rudyard and Engadine high schools.

A lottery drawing was performed to select the two schools, and donations will be made directly to the football program of those schools chosen. Each year, new schools will be chosen until all U.P. schools have received benefits from the game.

Several other schools will also receive donations in the form of All-Star Game equipment, including the practice jerseys and footballs.

BK Enterprises of Iron Mountain has been named the “Official Awards Provider for the U.P. Football All-Star Game. BK will be providing the all-star player, coach and sponsor plaques, the most valuable player plaques, as well as sponsoring the championship travelling trophy.

“We are so happy that Brenda (Mattson) and BK have agreed to participate in the game again. They have an outstanding reputation in the community and having providers involved that are from the U.P. makes the event that much more special,” reported event organizers.

Schedule follows:

Monday, June 23 – Players and coaches check in at Meyland Hall on NMU campus. A food drive for the Beacon House food pantry will be held at the check-in location.

Tuesday, June 24 – Team and individual pictures, as well as media day.

Wednesday, June 25 – Players Skills Challenge (Competition for the titles of Fastest Man, Strongest Man, Receiver, Quarterback Challenge, Kicking and Punting).

Thursday, June 26 – Players and coaches will be visiting Bay Cliff Health Camp. Bay Cliff is a summer camp for children with physical disabilities and the all-star players will spend time with the campers, showing them football drills, and finishing the day by having dinner with the Bay Cliff campers and staff.

Friday, June 27 – All-Star banquet, with Santilli as guest speaker.

Saturday, June 28 Two youth football games prior to the All-Star Game. The games, with free admission, will take place at 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. Youth players wearing their jersey will get in free to the All-Star Game.