Upper Peninsula All-Star Football plans announced
Courtesy: Xcel Sports Training
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The U.P. Football All-Star Game has finalized the schedule and players for this year’s event. 2021 marks the 14th anniversary of the U.P. summer football classic. This year, the players selected as all-stars were again drafted by the coaches, just like NFL fantasy football leagues and are either on the Red Team or the Black Team. What started as novelty for the 10th anniversary, the draft format was very well-received by everyone, so it has continued each year since.
The draft took place in April, and was completed by the coaches virtually due to the pandemic restrictions still in place. The coaches from both teams gathered at their own team’s draft location and submitted their picks online. The picks were also reported on social media. Prior to the draft, the coaches did extensive research of the players, so they could put together the best team possible to fit their offensive and defensive schemes. Having the players “mixed” by the draft means not only will players be competing against traditional rivals from other schools, they might also be competing against players from their own school.
The game will be played in Marquette at the Superior Dome on Saturday, July 31, 2021. Game time is set for 1 PM, with the doors opening at noon. Many activities are planned throughout the week for the players and coaches.
Monday, July 26, the players and coaches check in at the Superior Dome, and there will be a food drive for the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry at the check-in location from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM.
Tuesday evening, July 27, will be the team and individual pictures, as well as media day. Players and coaches will be available for interviews from any media that are present.
Wednesday afternoon, July 28, will be the Players Skills Challenge. The players will compete for the titles of Fastest Man, Strongest Man, Receiver, Quarterback Challenge, Kicking and Punting Challenges.
Thursday, July 29, the players and coaches normally travel to Bay Cliff Health Camp, but Bay Cliff is not open this summer due to health restrictions and to protect the safety of the campers. Because of this opening in the schedule, the All-Star players and coaches will host an All-Star Youth Football Camp in the Dome on Thursday evening from 6:30-8:00 PM. All kids ages 6 and up are welcome to attend. The camp is free, but a $5 donation is welcome to help support the various donations that are made each year. All kids in attendance will be divided into age-appropriate groups and taken through various stations and drills aided by the All-Star players and coaches. The first 150 kids will receive a free camp tshirt, provided by Culver’s and Loyal Tees.
Friday evening, July 30, is the All-Star Banquet. The banquet provides family and friends a chance to connect with the All-Star players after a long week of practice and activities. Players will be recognized for their accomplishments during the Skills Challenge and receive their All-Star Rings. The guest speaker will be announced later this week in a separate press release.
The U.P. Football All-Star Game will be donating proceeds to Ontonagon, St. Ignace and Sault High Schools. A lottery drawing is performed to select the schools each year, and donations will be made directly to the football program of those schools chosen. Each year, new schools have been chosen to receive donations from the game. All schools have now received the financial donation, so next year the lottery process will start over again with all schools being eligible. Several other schools (Bark River-Harris, Engadine, Stephenson and West Iron County) will also receive donations in the form of All-Star Game equipment, including the practice jerseys and footballs.
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