MARQUETTE, Mi. What a week! What a game!
The players and coaches put the finishing touches on a full week of activities by taking the field at the Superior Dome in front of 2000 fans. The atmosphere was electric and the fans were excited to see their local U.P. players compete in one more high school football game. Players finally had a chance to compare their talents to other U.P. all-stars on the field that they previously had only heard about.
For the players not pursuing football in college, the game provided a last chance to put on the pads and have some fun. For the players reporting to college football camp in the fall, they got a taste of playing in a large stadium, as well as a week of practice with the pads on getting used to harder hits and more physical contact.
As for the game itself, fans could not ask for a better more exciting game. The addition of motion to the offense this year provided a much-needed boost in the scoring compared to the last few years. The game featured the first kick return for a touchdown, as well as several fumbles and turnovers. It definitely had a little bit of everything. Late in the fourth quarter, the game was tied 28-28, until the Red Team made a series of big plays and put two final scores on the board, making the final score 42-28.
The individual awards were as follows: Black Team Offensive MVP: Luke Terrian-Kingsford, Black Team Defensive MVP: Andrew Blanchard-Engadine, Black Team Character Award: Alex Cannoot-Marquette, Red Team Offensive MVP: Nathan Beckman, Red Team Defensive MVP: Travis Ojala-Calumet, Red Team Character Award: Brent Loukus-Calumet.
Individual awards were decided on by the coaching staffs of each team after the game. The traveling trophy was presented to the Red Team and head coach Cody Kangas of Manistique. A miniature version of the trophy was also presented to Al Stenberg of Bark River-Harris, who was the head coach for the victorious Black Team in 2018. The traveling trophy may be passed between schools representing the Red Team, then brought back to Marquette for next year’s game, where Coach Kangas will receive his own miniature version of the trophy for this year’s victory.
Totals are being finalized and the proceeds will be donated to several U.P. charities and schools.