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Ironwood, Mid Pen, Norway and others get all-star donations

Players are shown in action at the 2022 U.P. Football All-Star Game, played at the Superior Dome in Marquette. Donations made possible by the game have been announced. (Photo from U.P. Football All-Starl website)

MARQUETTE — The U.P. Football All-Star Game continued its giving ways by announcing that three Upper Peninsula high school football teams will receive donations from the game this year.

The Ironwood, Norway and Mid Pen football programs will each receive $1,000, which can be used for anything that benefits their 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 founder and organizer, in a news release.

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,” Goldbeck said. “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 last year, every school in the U.P. had received the donation once, so the lottery started over this year by picking three new schools.

“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,” Goldbeck said.

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 (George Niemi-Ishpeming and Joe Noha-Menominee) get to take home 12 footballs to their hometown team.

Also, all of the practice jerseys are donated to U.P. football programs. There is a full set of navy/gold jerseys that will go to Lake Linden-Hubbell High School, and the black/white jerseys are being given to Houghton 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 1,500 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 $1,960 total, so the individual got 50% ($980), while the All-Star Game 50% ($980) was donated to the Mid Pen football program for their assistance in selling tickets.

The Jack Audette Character Award was voted on by each of the two coaching staffs, and was given to Justin Jurmu-Marquette (Red Team) and Chance Bridgers-Hancock (Black Team). The award comes with a $500 scholarship, which is also funded directly by the All-Star coaches.

“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 with them moving forward in their lives — I think we accomplished that again this year. “

Next year’s date has not been confirmed yet.

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