Retired Forest Park Coach Bill Santilli, shown talking to one of his players during a time-out last season, will coach the West team at the U.P. Football All-Star Game on June 28.
MARQUETTE—The annual U.P. Football All-Star Game will take place Saturday, June 28, at the Superior Dome in Marquette, with a number of Iron County players and coaches taking part in the action.
The game is a showcase for the Upper Peninsula’s top football players who were seniors during the 2013 season. Top players from all over the U.P. will take part in the game.
Coaching the West team will be Bill Santilli, long-time Forest Park head coach who stepped down after the 2013 season. He will also be the guest speaker at the All-Star banquet on Friday, June 27.
Santilli will be joined on the coaching staff by Dave Graff, former FP assistant who is the new head coach, and Gerard Valesano, former Trojans junior varsity coach who will be the new varsity assistant coach.
Also coaching the West team are Ken Klein of Lake Linden-Hubbell, Bob Madigan of Norway and Brad Grayvold, retired Norway coach.
The West team includes three Forest Park players and five from West Iron County. All played their senior seasons last fall and have now graduated.
Jeff Johnson, Austin Snell and Raymond Tomasik will represent the Trojans, while Bryson Heimerl, Chasz Jonet, Andrew Peterson, Andy Ridolphi and Colton Pangrazzi were selected from the Wykons.
The game itself kicks off at 3 p.m. Eastern Time, with doors opening at 2.
Many activities are planned in the week leading up to the game:
--June 23: After checking in at Meyland Hall on the Northern Michigan University campus, players and coaches took part in a food drive at the Beacon House food pantry.
--June 24: Team and individual pictures and media day.
--Wednesday, June 25: The Players Skills Challenge takes place, with players competing in fastest man, strongest man, receiver, quarterback challenge, kicking and punting.
--Thursday, June 26: Players and coaches visit the Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay, a summer camp for children with physical disabilities. The players will spend time with the campers, show them football skills and have dinner with them.
--Friday, June 27: Santilli will be the guest speaker at the All-Star Banquet. A member of the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame, he has been part of state championship teams at Forest Park as both a player and coach. His 2007 team won the state Division 8 championship, part of a string of six consecutive state title game appearances for the Trojans.
--Saturday, June 28: Two youth football games will be held at the Superior Dome (at 10:15 a.m. and noon Eastern Time) prior to the All-Star Game Admission to the youth games is free.
The U.P. Football All-Star Game will donate proceeds to Beacon House, the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame and two high schools, Rudyard and Engadine.
Each year, two U.P. high school football programs are randomly selected to receive donations. Organizers say new schools will be chosen every year for the donations until all U.P. schools have received benefits. Other schools will receive equipment donations, including practice jerseys and footballs.