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Representing well: 25 area players among 84 on Upper Peninsula Football All-Star Game rosters

Ishpeming’s Hunter Smith turns the corner looking for room to run upfield in the first quarter during a high school football game played against Iron Mountain at the Ishpeming Playgrounds on Sept. 8. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

MARQUETTE — Just about 30% of the rosters for the annual Upper Peninsula Football All-Star Game will be composed of area players from Marquette, Alger, Luce and Schoolcraft counties.

That’s 25 players out of 84 listed on the Black and Red team rosters as listed on the AdvantEdge Sports Training website, advantedgesports.com/up-football.

Players must be already-graduated seniors to be eligible to play in this game, so some schools may seem under- or over-represented because of that.

The nine area schools with players on the rosters are led by Ishpeming with five; Negaunee, Marquette and Manistique with four each; Westwood, Munising and Newberry with two apiece; and Gwinn and Superior Central with one each.

The annual all-star game will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome in Marquette.

Marquette center Eli Lusk readies to snap the ball during a high school game played at Gaylord on Sept. 9. (In Motion photo courtesy Gaylord Weekly Choice)

Only one of the coaches has a direct local connection this year — Bob Jurasin, who has lived in Ishpeming and apparently lives in Marquette now. He a former NMU football player from the 1980s who went on to star in the Canadian Football League and Arena League, and more recently has coached at several places, including NMU and Finlandia.

Jurasin has been inducted into several halls of fame, including the NMU Sports Hall of Fame, U.P. Sports Hall of Fame and CFL Hall of Fame.

Travis Wiltzius of Gladstone is Team Black’s head coach and offensive coordinator, while fellow Braves’ coach Jared Dagenais will coach special teams and wide receivers.

Also on Team Black, Tim Driscoll of Houghton will be the defensive coordinator and coach defensive backs, Dave Wilson of Escanaba will coach running backs and tight ends, Josh Frantti of Calumet the offensive line, Eli Luoma of Houghton linebackers, Jurasin the defensive line and Vince Leveille of Engadine the quarterbacks.

Chad Brandt of Menominee will be Team Red’s head coach with four fellow Maroons coaches serving as assistants — Mason Kewley will defensive coordinator and also in charge of the defensive line, Lucas Chouinard the wide receivers, Dave Mathieu the offensive line and Dave Clark will be an assistant for the offensive line.

Westwood's Edward Anderson, No. 5 at center with ball, finds a hole and gains several yards with teammates Gabe Tossava, just to his left, and Dennis Smith, front right, blocking during a high school football game played against Negaunee at Miners Stadium in Negaunee on Sept. 29. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

Other Team Red coaches are Robin Marttila will coach linebackers, Steve Noasconi of Kingsford the defensive backs and Eric Johnson of Kingsford the defensive line. Kiefer Chouinard is listed as ball boy and manager.

Player-wise, four of Ishpeming’s five representatives will be on Team Red — defensive lineman Hayden Hares, linebacker Hunter Smith, defensive back Connor Gauthier and linebacker Tramon Gauthier. The Hematites’ lone player on Team Black is offensive lineman Brayden Martin.

Three of Marquette’s four players are alson on Team Red — wide receiver Wyatt Lakenen, running back Tucker Welch and linebacker Kutler Braun. The Sentinels’ Team Black representative is center Eli Lusk.

Negaunee’s four players are split 2-2 on Red and Black. For Team Red are running back Kai Lacar and defensive lineman Mitchell Paltzer, while on Team Black are defensive lineman Evan Gauthier and defensive back James Thomson.

Manistique also has a 2-2 split between the two all-star teams. On Team Red are flex player Wyatt Demers and running back Carsyn Hinkson, while repping Team Black are defensive lineman Michael Bouche and defensive back Parker Graphos.

Negaunee's Kai Lacar, front, intercepts a Westwood pass and would run it back for a touchdown before a penalty brings the ball back to where the interception took place during a high school game played against Negaunee at Miners Stadium in Negaunee on Sept. 29. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

Both of Westwood’s players will be on Team Black, wide receiver Jayce Arseneau and linebacker Eddie Anderson.

But both of Munising’s representatives are on Team Red, flex player Reece Cotey and defensive lineman Joe Kelley.

Then it back to two players on Team Black from Newberry, defensive lineman Gabriel Luck and athlete Jacob Mohar.

Gwinn’s player will be linebacker Connor Dupras on Team Red, while Superior Central’s will be defensive lineman Elijah Penney on Team Black.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 552. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

Marquette's Tucker Welch breaks through the center of the Petoskey defensive line for a good gain in the third quarter of their MHSAA Division 3 high school playoff game at William R. Hart Stadium in Marquette on Oct. 27. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

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