Football All-Star game set to highlight the best of the best from the gridiron

By: Mike Moore | C&G Newspapers | Published June 16, 2017

METRO DETROIT — For some, it will be a pre-emptive strike to the college game. 

For others, the final time football pads are ever strapped on.

If Jim Sparks gets his way, the 35th Michigan High School Football Coaches Association East/West All-Star Game will be a memory that lasts a lifetime for everyone involved.

“We really aim to provide these players the best football experience of their life,” said Sparks, who is the head coach at Clawson High. He also serves as the All-Star game chairman. “For years, this has been the showcase of our association. It’s our chance to really showcase these kids and high school football in the state of Michigan.”

The game, featuring roughly 80 players from across the state, as well as two players from eight-man football teams, is set for 1:08 p.m. June 24 at Saginaw Valley State University.

“It’s unique because we blend kids form all over the state,” Sparks said. “We have kids from the biggest schools or the smallest schools. They get to live with each other for a few days and really get to know one another.”

Players officially report June 21 to Saginaw Valley. They check into dorms to begin practice two to three times a day.

Sparks said he doesn’t look too much into the fact that this really is a glorified scrimmage.

“It’s an All-Star game, and there may not be much riding on it on paper,” he said. “But what you see is teams come together pretty quickly. Once they see the pride of their side of the state is on the line, it’s gets competitive right away.”

It’s also a chance to build life-long bonds.

“A lot of friendships have been formed from this game,” Sparks said. “They get ready for college or they play one last time, but they make friends they will keep with for a long, long time.”

The 2017 MHSFCA East/West All-Star Game is set for June 24. Here is a quick look at the East roster, with players from the C & G coverage area bolded.

• Carlos Agens — Allen Park High
• Demetrius Barnes — Milan High
• Blake Bueter — Novi Detroit Catholic Central
• Kody Burton — Bridgeport High
• Adonte Calhoun — Detroit Denby
• Steven Charles — Clinton Township Chippewa Valley
• Ryan Crews — Madison Heights Madison
• Nyussinu Crowell — Livonia Franklin
• Jake Curtis — Bedford High
• Jared Davis — Frankenmuth High
• Karry DeBose — Warren Cousino
• Hamze Elzayat — Dearborn Fordson
• Zyaire Gardner — Detroit Cody
• Dontel Hampton — Trenton High
• Marquise Hathaway — Redford Union
• Alex Hinojosa — Allen Park
• Kenneth Holloway — Detroit Osborn
• Greg Johnson — Detroit Mumford
• Mustafa Khaleefah — Dearborn High
• Guam Lee — Farmington Hills Harrison
• Derek Lynch — Bloomfield Hills High

• Ian Macon — Detroit Central
• Stephen McGill — River Rouge High
• Jack McKenna — Walled Lake Northern
• Najon Moore — Warren Fitzgerald
• Jack Provencher — Utica Eisenhower

• Logan Russo — Howell High
• Joe Schneider — Romeo High
• Adam Sieler — Pinckney High
• Austin Spaetzel — Deckerville High
• Mike VanSumeren — Essexville Garber
• Omar Warlick — Clinton Township Clintondale
• Brent Watson — Detroit Western
• Dillon Webb — Grosse Pointe North
• Heratio Williams — Grosse Pointe South

• Sam Womack — East English Village
• Kyle Wood — Rochester Adams