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The 13th annual Regional All-Star Football Game will offer both a farewell for departing prep players and an early taste of the upcoming season. But this year, fans will be offered a special gridiron treat.
The College Football Hall of Fame is bringing its “Road Show” to Steinecker Stadium in Perrysburg for display at tomorrow night's contest. The “Road Show” is a traveling recreational vehicle that displays memorabilia including helmets, autographed balls, jerseys of several college football greats, band uniforms, trophies, game programs and a coach's playbook.
“They're bringing a big trailer that's like a traveling museum,” said Ray Pohlman, who is the coordinator of the all-star game. “It's a 38-foot recreational vehicle that has artifacts and memorabilia. It has interactive audio visual displays and push button displays.”
The RV will be available for tours before, during and after the all-star game that kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
Ninety recent graduates representing 50 high schools in northwest Ohio were selected to play in the event that has attracted sell-out crowds of over 3,000 in recent years.
“We've been getting a full house,” Pohlman said. “It's a great event for northwest Ohio. We have groups that come back and meet. A lot of people tailgate before the game.”
He said because the event has become such a big function, officials from the College Football Hall of Fame agreed to bring their road show to the area. The College Football Hall of Fame is about 90 minutes from Toledo in South Bend, Ind.
One of the displays is an interactive kiosk that plays great moments in college football history including bloopers, great upsets, legendary games and memorable plays.
Another feature is called the “Evolution of Equipment,” which includes pads, helmets and shoes from the early 1900s to present. Each of the 10 trophies given annually to college football standouts also is highlighted with a photograph and explanation.
The RV also includes a mini-theater with a touch-screen display.
Pohlman said the display adds even more “football flavor” to the atmosphere surrounding the all-star affair.
“The reason why we do this is because we love the game of football,” he said. “It's a great kickoff for next season.”
Pohlman said it also gives most of the players one last chance to play organized football. He estimated that 40 percent of the participants are going on to play at the collegiate level.
“The best moment for me is seeing all the kids come together,” he said. “They work hard and are butting heads, but the next moment they are friends. It's kind of cool to see rivals like Northview and Southview or Perrysburg and Maumee on the same side.”
Seven players who were named to the All-Blade team last fall will participate tomorrow night. Running back Derek Barksdale (Central Catholic), guard Andrew Stanford (St. Francis de Sales), running back Chris Jones (Maumee), linebacker Mark Nagel (Delta) tackle Dan Dye (Napoleon) defensive back Josh Widman (Findlay) and linebacker Corey Steinhauser (St. John's Jesuit) will don their high school helmets for the last time.
Last fall, Barksdale led the City League in rushing with 1,543 yards, while Jones led the Northern Lakes League with 1,551 yards. Stanford was a powerful run and pass blocker who helped the Knights reach the state semifinals. Nagel paced the Panthers with a team-high 105 tackles and led the NWOAL with 1,126 rushing yards. Steinhauser forced four fumbles and made five tackles for loss for the Titans.
Coaching the Black team will be Bob Olwin of Fairview High School and Dean Ziegler of Elmwood. Olwin led the Apaches to a 7-3 record last year.
The Gold team will be coached by Bill Hrabak of Genoa and Ken Krouse from Tinora. Krouse led the Rams to a perfect 7-0 league mark as they made their first appearance in the playoffs last fall.
The annual 12th man award will be given to the family of Allan Moore, who was the long-time athletic director at Tinora High School.
The award is presented in memory of a coach, player or community member who was active working with youths in the athletic arena.
Honorary coaches awards will be presented to Dwight Lee of Elmwood and Larry Fruth from Archbold.
Steinecker Stadium is at the former Perrysburg High School on Boundary Road.
Ticket prices are $5 for adults, senior citizens and students. Parking is $1.
The College Football Hall of Fame “Road Show” is free and open to the public.
“We like to make it as good as it can be,” Pohlman said.
“We like it to be a treat for the kids and the fans. We want them to come out and have a good time.”