Serving up a nice draft: Upper Peninsula Football All-Star Game coaches select players in a draft for 3rd year

Ishpeming’s John Corkin, left, stretches to score his team’s first touchdown during the fourth quarter of an MHSAA Division 8 regional championship playoff game against Beal City in Mount Pleasant on Nov. 16. Corkin and Hematites’ teammates Jacob Kugler, center, and Ben Pruett, right, are on rosters to play in the annual Upper Peninsula Football All-Star Game in June. (Photo courtey Cara Kamps)

Game time:

U.P. All-Star Football Game, 1 p.m., Saturday, June 27, Superior Dome, Marquette


MARQUETTE — Area high school football teams will be well represented during the 13th annual Upper Peninsula Football All-Star Game slated for Saturday, June 27, at the Superior Dome.

It’ll be the third straight year the game will operate under a draft format, and that draft was held on Saturday at Buffalo Wild Wings in Marquette, splitting up the 82 invited seniors into Team Red and Team Black.

Twenty-three of those 82 hail from Marquette County schools. Ishpeming will have the most representatives with eight, followed by Marquette with six, Negaunee and Westwood with four and Gwinn with one.

Marquette wide receiver Collin Hicks catches a touchdown pass against Traverse City St. Francis in Traverse City on Aug. 30. Hicks is among the area players that were drafted Saturday for the annual Upper Peninsula Football All-Star Game. (Traverse City Record-Eagle photo by Jan-Michael Stump)

Six more players from schools in Alger, Baraga and Schoolcraft counties were also drafted, all on the Black team. They are Josh Huotari of Munising, Zach Englund of Superior Central, Jaden DeMink and Jonah Dowd of L’Anse and Schyler Andersen and Joey Hoholik of Manistique.

This year’s Red team will be under the leadership of St. Ignace head coach Chris “Iffer” Marshall. Ishpeming head coach George Niemi and former head coach and Hematites legend Jeff Olson will serve as assistants on Marshall’s staff.

Lake Linden-Hubbell head coach Andy Crouch will be at the helm of the Black team with Negaunee head coach Paul Jacobson and assistant coach Dan Waterman also on Crouch’s staff.

Ishpeming’s eight representatives include four on each team. Ty Kauppinen, Jacob Kugler, Tommy Sjoholm and Otto Swanson will take the field for the Red team, while John Corkin, Owen Morton, Ben Pruett and Ethan Sigala will square off against their former Hematite teammates by representing the Black team.

Kauppinen (defensive tackle), Morton (guard) and Kugler (defensive end) were named to the All-Upper Peninsula Dream Team at the conclusion of the 2019 season. Sigala (center), Corkin (running back) and Pruett (linebacker) received Small School First Team honors while Pruett was also named Small School Defensive Player of the Year.

Ishpeming's Jacob Kugler, front center, catches a pass during the MHSAA Division 8 regional championship football playoff game played against Beal City in Mount Pleasant on Nov. 16. Kugler and teammates Owen Morton (62) and Otto Swanson (12) were drafted Saturday for the Upper Peninsula Football All-Star Game. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

Swanson claimed Lineman of the Year honors for the Hematites as well. Swanson and Kugler are both committed to Northern Michigan University.

Marquette is also split down the middle with three players each on the Black and Red teams. Dakota Fortin, Ethan Hayes and Drew Wyble will all don a Red team uniform while Collin Hicks, Isaac Johnson and John Thomson will suit up for Team Black. All six players received All-Great Northern Conference honors last season.

Wyble was named an All-U.P. Dream Teamer at kicker, hitting nine of 11 field goal attempts with a long of 45 yards. He also nailed 23 of 25 extra points. Hicks (end) and Thomson (defensive back) represented the Redmen on the Large School First Team list. Wyble and Hicks are both committed to Michigan Tech University.

The Miners’ four players include Logan Chaudier for Team Red as well as Leo Helppi, Alex Munson and Jason Waterman for Team Black. The Black Team trio received various All-West PAC conference awards while Waterman was an All-U.P. Dream Teamer at defensive back and was also the Miners’ starting quarterback. Helppi was named to the Large School First Team list at linebacker and will be a preferred walk-on for the Huskies in the fall. He recorded 98 tackles, five sacks and three fumble recoveries in his senior season.

The Patriots are represented by Chad Pohlman, Erik Anderson, Taylor Dellangelo and Matthew Paavo, four more All-West PAC players. Pohlman is the lone Patriot on the Red team with the other three suiting up against him.

West Iron County's Nathan Thompson, top center, hurdles Ishpeming's Tommy Sjoholm, bottom left, and gets around the Hematites' Otto Swanson (12), partially hidden by Thompson's knee, during their game on Oct. 11 at the Ishpeming Playgrounds. Both Hematites players were in Saturday's draft for this summer's Upper Peninsula Football All-Star Game. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

Pohlman (end), Anderson (linebacker) and Dellangelo (running back) were all named to the All-U.P. Dream Team last season.

For the Modeltowners, Caleb Anderson will hit the field for the Black team. Anderson was a dual-threat quarterback for Gwinn, passing for 1,685 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 580 yards and five touchdowns. He was one of the best high school football players in the U.P. according to the late Gwinn head coach Dion Brown. Anderson will continue his academic and football career at Michigan Tech in the fall.

Kickoff in the 2020 U.P. Football All-Star game is set for 1 p.m. June 27 at the Superior Dome. Tickets can be purchased in advance online for $7 at www.upfootballallstargame.com. The website also contains information about rosters, a schedule of All-Star week events, previous All-Star games and much more.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.

Marquette's Ethan Hayes runs the ball against Kingsford in their Oct. 25 game at Marquette Senior High School. Hayes was part of the player draft held Saturday for this summer's Upper Peninsula Football All-Star Game. (Journal photo by Amy Grigas)


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