Ontonagon, Saint Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie and others receive U.P. Football All-Star donations

Local food pantry also benefits
Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 1:18 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The U.P. Football All-Star Game continued its giving ways by announcing that three U.P. high school football teams will receive donations from the game this year. The Ontonagon, St. Ignace and Sault football programs will each receive one thousand dollars, which can be used for anything that benefits the football program.

“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 Todd Goldbeck, game organizer.

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, then the selection process starts over again.

“The lottery is a very 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. I was very pleased to hear that all three schools that were chosen have specific plans for the donations and they will help their football programs in a positive way. That is what the U.P. Football All-Star Game is all about.”

Every U.P. football program will get an equal donation from the all-star game, in the amount of one thousand dollars. After the three schools receive their donation this year, every U.P. school will have received the donation at some point in the 14 years since the start of the U.P. Football All-Star Game, so next year, the lottery process will begin again with all schools being eligible.

“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 hopefully help each school continue their individual football tradition”, states Goldbeck.

The football team of each school may choose to use the money in a 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.

In addition to the three schools selected, the Black and Red All-Star head coaches will receive half of the footballs used during the week leading up to the game. There are 24 new footballs each year, so both All-Star head coaches (Chris Thomson-West Iron County and Al Stenberg-Bark River-Harris) get to take home 12 footballs, which have only been used for one week.

Also, all of the practice jerseys are donated to U.P. football programs. There is a full set of blue/gold jerseys that will go to Stephenson High School, and the green/gold jerseys are being given to Engadine High School. 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 notable donations included over 1500 pounds of food for the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry, as well as a cash donation to Bay Cliff Health Camp, which are two organizations that operate on contributions from the community. The 50/50 raffle at the game was $1960 total, so the individual got 50% ($980), while the All-Star Game 50% ($980) was donated to the Bark River-Harris Schools for their assistance in selling tickets.

“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 moving forward in their lives.’ I think we accomplished that again this year. It was a great feeling to have the game back after a very difficult 2020 for everyone.”

Next year’s date has not been confirmed yet.

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