This Saturday the best of the best in high school football will gather at University of Delaware for the 59th annual DFRC Blue/Gold All-Star Football Game.
Locally, the game will see representatives from Dover, Caesar Rodney, Lake Forest, and Polytech.
Both the Senators and Riders will have four representatives in Saturday’s game. For the Senators, Raekwon Bouges, Marcellus Pack, Tavarus Sample and Deon Wright will strap on a Senator’s helmet for the final time. The four, under first-year head coach Dante Jones, helped lead Dover to an 8-2 record the previous season. The Senators nearly upset eventual state champ Salesianum, falling in overtime of the semifinal round.
For the Riders, Dominique Dorsey, Alex Kemp, Brendyn Moore, and Kendall Wicks will represent Caesar Rodney. They helped lead CR to a 7-3 record last season, and like Dover they fell in the semifinal round to then defending champion Middletown.
Polytech and Lake Forest each have one representative in the game Saturday, Kyle Hyde for the Panthers and Michael Sabino from the Spartans.
The Polytech football program had resurgence last season, as Hyde helped the Panthers go 5-5 after several seasons of sub-.500 football. Meanwhile, Sabino and the Spartans finished with an impressive 6-4 record.
For the Dover players, Saturday’s game offers one more opportunity to prove they’re among the best the state has to offer on the high school football field.
“It feels really good, I worked hard to get here,” said Bouges who plans to play football next fall at Wesley College. “I’ve been working out and getting ready for this game to prove myself. I want to be seen as one of the top players in the state.”
While both Sample and Pack plan on continuing their football careers in college, for some Saturday will be the last time they step on a football field in competitive play. Heading into Saturday’s game, neither Sample nor Pack will be taking the opportunity for granted.
“It’s a great achievement because not everyone gets picked,” said Sample. “I want to appreciate every moment and have fun out there and take in every last bit of high school football.”
“It feels good to be picked,” said Pack. “A lot of people don’t get this opportunity to play in an all-star game.”
Saturday will mark the 59th annual Blue/Gold football game, the date also marks the 40th year of the Blue Gold Hand in Hand program. The Hand in Hand program has been the centerpiece of the Blue/Gold program, which pair’s high school participants with a young person with intellectual disabilities. Players, cheerleaders, and band members work closely with their buddies participating in multiple events throughout the year leading up to the game.
Created in 1974, the Hand in Hand program has become a massive success. While many events are planned in advance, the program encourages participants to get involved with their buddies on their own as well. The bonds that have been created through this program, many of which have lasted well after the event, have made the Hand in Hand program a blueprint for other charity programs throughout the country.
Every year this program impacts lives on both ends of the spectrum, and this year is no different, especially for Lake Forest all-star Sabino.
“It means a lot to me to be able to represent my school in such a program,” said Sabino. “The program has opened my eyes up to a whole new view on life.”
“When you first start Blue/Gold you think the program is for the buddies and soon realize that it’s not the whole case,” Sabino continued. “You get to see someone else’s lifestyle and the challenges they conquer daily and it makes you appreciate everything you can do.”
The 59th annual DFRC Blue/Gold All-Star Football Game will take place on Saturday at University of Delaware Stadium starting at 3:00 p.m. For ticket info go to dfrc.ticketleap.com/football.