Former Lake Linden-Hubbell coach Andy Crouch is keynote speaker at U.P. Football All-Star Banquet
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Friday marked the last day of preparation for the players and coaches before the game. The coaches had the players practice all of their special teams alignments, as well as several live drives and situations. The players were on high alert, and it was evident that both teams were fine-tuning the plays they felt would give them the best chance for success in the game. The players are definitely anxious to tackle someone in a different colored jersey.
Both teams practiced in helmets and shoulder pads on Friday. They ran some plays, practiced extra points and made sure everyone knew their assignments in various formations. With player introductions at 1PM, Saturday morning will go by quick. Players will eat breakfast at the hotel, gather all their equipment and personal belongings, then check out. Snacks and Gatorade, provided by Econo Foods, will be available for the players at the Dome for pregame.
Friday evening was the All-Star Banquet, where several hundred people were in attendance to meet and greet the players. Parents, family and friends saw their players for the first time all week and had a chance to find out what the players have been experiencing during the week. Announcements were made and a recap was given of all the various things that happened throughout the week. The players and coaches then took turns introducing each other, and the night culminated in a motivational message from guest speaker, Andy Crouch, former Head Coach of Lake Linden-Hubbell High School.
New this year, the Jack Audette Character Award, which is named for the All-Star player from North Dickinson who played in the first All-Star Game in 2008, was announced at the Banquet. One winner from each team was chosen by his team’s coaches to receive the award, and each player will receive a $500 scholarship. The All-Star coaches also fund the scholarship, so it truly is their award. The two recipients were Jaakob Fyle of Bessemer (Gogebic) and Isaac Codere of Lake Linden-Hubbell.
During Crouch’s speech, he spoke to the players and fans about the relationships he developed throughout his career, and how we should embrace the challenge of “stepping out of our comfort zone”. When you do things that may be uncomfortable, it often times leads to great rewards and great friendships, but you must be willing to take that first step.
Overall, it was an excellent message, and everyone was able to take something from it. There is a lot of diversity in the players, so whether a player continues their football career in college, or not, they could all take the message to heart. Some players will attend college, and some will go straight to a career or the military, but everyone could relate to the message.
The Traveling Trophy was also on display for all to see. Parents and fans saw it up-close for the first time and many took pictures of their players with it individually. The trophy will be presented to the winning team, where it can be passed to other teams representing the winning squad throughout the year, before returning to Marquette for next year’s game. Players also received their all-star rings and the winners of the Skills Challenges were recognized during the program.
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