The Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game will be played for the 17th time Saturday night, with kickoff at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Blaine Powell of Sullivan and Chuck Sorrell of South Putnam were selected by the association as coaches for the game, with Powell directing the Gold Squad and Sorrell the Black Squad. And both expressed their enjoyment of the job this week.
"We have a really good group of kids," Powell said. "They've become teammates so fast and come together so quick. They've worked together really well."
"I really appreciate this week being a lot of fun," said Sorrell. "We're going to treat [our players] like all-stars, but we'll work 'em hard."
Powell's coaching staff includes his own assistant coach, Matt McLaren, plus Mark Raetz and Aaron Edwards from Northview, Brian Oliver from Linton and Ben Blank from North Vermillion. Raetz is directing the Gold defense, Powell indicated.
Players from those four schools are on the Gold team, obviously, along with athletes from Covington, Cumberland, Eastern Greene, Edgewood, Greencastle, Lawrenceville, Marshall, Monrovia, North Central, Oblong-Palestine-Hutsonville, Olney, Parke Heritage and Terre Haute South.
Sorrell's staff includes his assistant coach Seth Hammond plus Casey Pinnell of Robinson, Steve Spinks and John Butler from Indian Creek, Terry Eup of South Vermillion, Troy Isles of West Vigo and Trent Fine of North Daviess.
Other schools represented on the Black Squad are Cascade, Casey, Mattoon, Newton, North Putnam, Owen Valley, Red Hill, Riverton Parke and Terre Haute North.
Both coaches praised their own player this week for helping the all-stars become teammates.
"All six of our kids [Grant Bell, Tristan Drake, Eli Hughes, Jaeden King, Gabe Pirtle and Karver Queen] have done a really good job," Powell said.
"My kids have stepped up," Sorrell agreed. "A couple of my kids, Parker Hacker and Hayden Switzer, have been leaders; they were why we were 12-1 [in the fall]."
Powell expects his team to be strong at every phase of the game.
"I'm pleased with the running back guys [Korbin Allen of Northview and Brody Schaeffer of Edgewood mentioned], and our offensive line has been really good," the coach said. "Defensively we look good from top to bottom, and everybody is picking up coach Raetz's scheme."
"There's a lot of leadership on this team," Sorrell said. "You can tell the Mattoon kids, the Terre Haute North kids and the South Vermillion kids were really well coached all season."
"It makes it fun to coach kids who come out and give effort," Powell concluded. "You're not really coaching, you just install things and [the players] come out here and take over."
WVFCA All-Star Game
Time: 7 p.m.
Place: Memorial Stadium.
Tickets: Available at the gate.
Teams: Gold Squad, including players from Covington, Cumberland, Eastern Greene, Edgewood, Greencastle, Lawrenceville, Linton, Marshall, Monrovia, North Central, North Vermillion, Northview, Oblong-Palestine-Hutsonville, Olney, Parke Heritage, Sullivan and Terre Haute South, vs. Black Squad, including players from Cascade, Casey, Indian Creek, Mattoon, Newton, North Daviess, North Putnam, Owen Valley, Red Hill, Riverton Parke, Robinson, South Putnam, South Vermillion, Terre Haute North and West Vigo.