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U.P All-Star football game cancelled due to pandemic

MARQUETTE — The U.P. Football All-Star Game has been held annually in Marquette since 2008, this year would have marked the 13th year for the high school game.

Each year, seniors from around the U.P. come to Marquette to play in one last game before heading out into the world. Some go to college, some go into the military and some enter the workforce.

The players spend an entire week practicing and preparing for the game on Saturday, at the Superior Dome. They also perform charitable work in the community and get to spend time with other U.P. players who they previously may have known only through competition against each other during high school.

The game was originally scheduled for June 27, and in mid May, it was postponed to Aug. 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Saturday, game organizer Todd Goldbeck of Xcel Sports announced the outright cancellation of this year’s U.P All-Star football game.

At the time of the game’s postponement, the U.P. was one phase away from being completely open, which would have allowed the game to take place. However, with the recent reversal, it is not possible, and not advisable, to have that many players, coaches and fans in one place, organizers said.

“It saddens me that this year’s seniors will not be able to experience all of the different events that take place throughout All-Star Week,” stated organizer Todd Goldbeck. “Each group of all-star players has spent their entire high school careers working hard to earn the awards and honors that will get them a chance to participate in this event. Unfortunately, for these seniors, it is yet another rite of passage that they will not get to take part in.”

Notably, the 2020 group of All-Stars has seven father-son, player-coach combinations. That is the most in any year. They are: Carter Crouch, Lake Linden-Hubbell (father-Andy), Tommy Lundin, Gogebic (father-Dave), Colton Salani, Hancock (father-Chris), Jason Waterman, Negaunee (father-Dan), Reid Marshall, St. Ignace (father-Iffer), Marcus Johnson, Iron Mountain (father-Bucky), Noah Thomson, West Iron County (father-Chris).

“Even though we held out hope as long as possible, cancelling was the right decision at this time. The safety and health of the players and coaches is always the highest priority, and when the number of cases started to rise recently, it became impossible to overcome.” Goldbeck stated. “It was simply about not putting everyone’s health at risk.”

Despite the actual event not taking place, the players will still be receiving all of their gear, which includes a custom game jersey and other All-Star branded apparel and memorabilia. They also will be getting several game programs, which contain the player profiles and ads from the various sponsors who make the game possible.

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