• HS Football 9/23: Manistique 44, L'Anse 0
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  • College Football 9/23: Qunicy, Ill. 45, Northern Michigan 27
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  • HS Football 9/22: Kingsford 41, Calumet 0
  • HS Football 9/22: Iron Mountain 49, West Iron County 0
5664 articles
Monday September 25, 2023
RESURRECTED! U.P. All-Star Football Game Saved

Click the thumbnails to hear comments from Escanaba's Ben Johnson and Gladstone's Kaden Gibbs.

The Upper Peninsula High School football All-Star game is back.


After Todd Goldbeck at Xcel Pysical Therapy announced last week that the 2023 game would be the last, the announcement came overnight Monday-Tuesday that the game has been resurrected.


It will be taken over by AdvantEdge, the Marquette-based sports training facility and its owner, local boy Dustin Brancheau, who is best known for being the trainer of NFL rookie lineman Jake Witt of NMU and Ewen-Trout Creek.


Word of the game's return spread quickly among U.P. High school football players on social media. The game is one that high school seniors look forward to, regardless of how their team does overall in the season.


“I'm extremely thankful and excited that they've decided to bring the U.P. All-Star Football Game back,” Escanaba senior running back Ben Johnson told RRN Sports shortly after the late-night announcment. “It was a little bit of a bummer knowing that last year was supposed to be the last year for it, because it's been a real oong tradition. It seems like an amazing experience. I'm thankful that AdvantEdge has decided to take it over. It's just great news for U.P. Football.”


Gladstone senior wide receiver Kaden Gibbs echoed Johnson's thoughts.


“I'm beyond grateful to hear the news,” Gibbs told RRN Sports. “I know I'm excited, and I know that plenty of athletes around the UP are excited to hear the news that 'Edge is gonna keep the UP All-Star going, and local coaches, which I think is an amazing thing, so athletes in the UP can show their talents against the best of the best. Maybe even some college coaches can be there. I think it's a great opportunity, and I just want to say thank you to 'Edge'.”

North Central senior kicker Adrian Mercier was also happy.

"I feel like it’s good to know that I got something to work toward," he said. "It’s gonna be awesome if I can get a chance to play at the All-Star game."


Brancheau, a Republic-Michigamme graduate, said in a statement that he just couldn't let this game die, after Goldbeck said he couldn't continue for family reasons.


"The game falls in line with one of my major 'whys' at AdvantEdge: making sure UP athletes have opportunities to showcase what they can do,” he wrote.”Losing this game would mean missing out on that opportunity. It won’t be easy, it will be a team effort and we will lean heavily on the people and coaches that have been apart of this game from the start”


The man who started the game 16 years ago, Goldbeck, said in an E-Mail to the media late Monday night that he will help Brancheau with whatever he needs.


“I am confident that Dustin will do a great job with the event moving forward,” he wrote. “Please give him the same level of support that you gave me over the past 16 years. He will no doubt put his own signature on the game, so please be patient with him as he finds his way through the process.”


Brancheau says more details on next June's game will be coming in the months ahead.

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