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Despite game being canceled, 16 schools get All-Star donations

(Matt McCarthy/Daily News photo) From LEFT, Iron Mountain head football coach Robin Marttila, Nick Opolka (50), Giovanni Colavecchi (56), Jake Dumais (42), Marcus Johnson (14) and assistant coach Harvey “Bucky” Johnson pose with the U.P. All-Star Football Game trophy on July 30. The four players and coach Johnson received their gear from game organizer Todd Goldbeck the day of this photo. Iron Mountain was one of the 12 U.P. football programs to receive a $1,000 donation from the U.P All-Star game.

MARQUETTE — The U.P. Football All-Star Game continued its giving ways by announcing that 16 U.P. high school football teams will receive donations from the game this year.

The following 12 football programs will each receive $1,000, which can be used for anything that benefits the football program: Calumet, Cedarville, Forest Park, Gladstone, Hancock, Iron Mountain, Ishpeming, Kingsford, Marquette, Munising, North Central and Pickford.

“When this game was started, it was always a goal that we would eventually be able to donate directly to all of the high school football programs throughout the U.P,” said game organizer Todd Goldbeck. “Next year, we will finally achieve that goal, and that is due to the tremendous support that the U.P. communities have given this event over the years.”

The schools are picked at random each year. Once a school has been selected, that school will be removed from the lottery until all other schools have been chosen once. Every U.P. football program will get an equal donation from the all-star game, in the amount of $1,000.

Once all schools have received the donation, the process will start over again.

(Todd Goldbeck photo) West Iron assistant coach Chris Thomson and head coach Mike Berutti were to be coaches in the game. Not pictured are All-Star players Brayden Nelson and Noah Thomson.

“The lottery is a fun way to select the schools”, said Goldbeck. “Every program is eligible, and it does not matter how successful the team is; everyone has a chance and gets a turn. It is very important that all U.P. programs are supported, so that each school can maintain a competitive team. That is what the U.P. Football All-Star Game is all about.”

The football team of each school may choose to use the money in any number of ways. Equipment, weight room and uniforms are just a few places that the school may decide will be the most effective use of the funds.

“Because All-Star Week could not take place this year, we were able to donate to many more schools. I hope that the donations will help their football programs in a positive way for what is sure to be a difficult upcoming year. This game would not be possible without the schools providing a positive environment for all of these student athletes to succeed. Giving back to their football programs will help each school continue their individual football tradition,” Goldbeck noted.

In addition to the 12 schools selected, the Black and Red All-Star head coaches received half of the footballs that were to be used during the week leading up to the game. There are 24 new footballs each year, so both All-Star head coaches, Andy Crouch of Lake Linden-Hubbell and Iffer Marshall of St. Ignace, were given 12 brand new footballs.

Also, all of the practice jerseys are donated to U.P. football programs. There was a full set of royal blue jerseys that went to Superior Central High School, and the purple jerseys were given to L’Anse High School.

(Todd Goldbeck photo) Forest Park head coach David Graff holds the All-Star Game trophy. Joining Graff are All-Star players Tommy Peltoma (6) and Evan Hedtke (38). Forest Park also received a $1,000 donation from the U.P. All-Star game.

The practice jerseys have the school name printed on them and are their school colors, so they can be used by the schools right away, without any further additions to the jerseys.

Other donations included a monetary donation to the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame to sponsor an annual scholarship for one of the All-Star players and Bay Cliff Health Camp, which are two organizations that operate on contributions from the community.

“When the game is over, I always want to be in a position to say, ‘The All-Star Game did very well again this year. That means we gave back to many different groups/schools and the players had fun throughout the week, while also reinforcing some important life lessons they can take with them moving forward in their lives,” Goldbeck said.

Next year’s game is set for Saturday, June 26, 2021 at Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome.

Matt McCarthy/Daily News photo KINGSFORD'S EDDIE CARDEW

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