Players Find Different Reason’s To Enjoy This Sunday’s PSFCA East/West Game
At 3pm this Sunday, May 1st, at Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh, 69 high school seniors will get the chance to do one last time something that many of them have been doing since they were in elementary school. They’ll get to strap on their helmets again as a high school football player.
The Pennsylvania Football Coaches Association’s annual East/West All Star Game isn’t just another game, it’s a game in which some of PA’s best talent will get to showcase their skills against players of equal or better talent. Those players participating in this year event will leave the field Sunday and move on to football careers with teams like Temple, Pitt, The Citadel, Navy, Princeton, Delaware St, Bloomsburg, St. Francis, Millersville and a whole host of other respected football programs throughout the country.
Among those selected was State College Offensive lineman Mark Weakland. “I’m honored to play in the East West game, it’s a great game and I’m excited to be apart of it. For me it shows that my hard work is paying off.” Weakland helped lead the Little Lions to the Western 4A quarterfinals where his season and HS career came to an end, or so he thought. “Every time I step in that locker room at Cupples stadium (for practice) it hits me how close my high school career is to being over. To be honest I wish I had more seasons in high school. Nothing beats playing in “The Pit” with all my friends. I’d give anything to play Central Dauphin again” said the future Citadel Bulldog.
For Chris Harootunian of Downingtown East, the game is special. “Playing in this game is an absolute honor for me. I’m blessed to be nominated by my coach and selected to play. I wouldn’t be here without all my coaches and family. It was truly special to practice at Kottmeyer Stadium again.”
The offensive lineman is, however, excited to get one more chance to suit up with fellow players. “It’s great to be able to line up with my fellow teammates Jay Ingram on the line and Mark Mastrog at DB. There’s also fellow Chesmont players and its a pleasant change to be on the same side of the ball with them because they’re all great players. I’m also meeting great players whom I’ve never played before and developing strong friendships.”
As for playing in his last high school game? “It’s definitely not the same, but I view it as one more chance to represent Downingtown. It is a strong and proud program that I have been blessed to be a part of. I’m going to play my heart out and leave it all on the field. It’s a blessing to have one more HS game some people don’t get this opportunity.” Chris will play football for Shippensburg in the fall.
Brashear’s Therran Coleman see’s this as an opportunity to help the West close in on the 9-5 wins deficit while getting to play with friends from the Pittsburgh area. “I think it (being a close knit group) helped us gain chemistry kind of quick. It’s fun. I knew most of them for a while. I hope to help the West experience another win!”
As for who is standing out, Coleman says Central Catholic’s now former running back Ronnie Jones is the one to look out for. “Ronnie Jones’ legs don’t stop moving. He only has one gear. I think they’ll be worried about stopping him so we’ll be able to go over the top with the wide receivers” said the future Pitt Panther.
While he thought his season ended after his team came up just a few plays short of winning the 4A title in 2015, Parkland’s Kenny Yeboah has a different look on the game. “ It’s bittersweet to know it will definitely be my last time playing in a high school football game with my school colors and helmet. It’s upsetting but , I know all good things come to an end. I had a great high school career and I can’t wait to move on to the next level and do the same thing, and more.” Kenny will no doubt be a special player for coach Ruhle at Temple.
Kenny just wants to “go out and have fun while competing with some of the best kids in Pennsylvania. I also hope to get better from this game.” But he also believes in the East teams chance to win. “Yes , Jake Gehman from Wilson reminds me of Nolan Ridgeway from my team. They both can run and catch the football. I watched Jakes highlight tape. He can do special things with the ball in his hands.”
No matter which team wins this game, one thing is sure: Fans from all over will get to enjoy the experience of watching a boatload of talent playing in their last high school football game.
You can find more information as well as the full rosters here: https://www.easternpafootball.com/district-1/2016-psfca-eastwest-star-game-final-rosters/
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