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Regional all-stars play football tonight for fun, and to win

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Eastwood's Chad Fairbanks slips a tackle attempt by Springfield's Kellen Taylor earlier this week in an all-star practice.

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Libbey coach Eric Henderson witnessed the annual Regional All-Star Football Game sitting in the stands the last six years.

Each time he found himself more enthusiastic about the late-summer game that draws in recent high school graduates to play one last time wearing their respective high school helmets.

Henderson will be standing on the Gold team sideline calling plays as a co-head coach with Edgerton's Kevin Kline tonight at Whitmer High.

Despite the game being an exhibition, which was established nearly two decades ago by the Perrysburg athletic boosters, Henderson is approaching it the way he would any Cowboys contest.

"It matters because all games you want to win, whether it's chess or checkers," he said. "We've talked about that and we're going to have some fun, but we're going out to win it.

"We're throwing the blitzes out there, we're throwing the empty backfields out there. We're going out to win this game."

Woodward graduate Darnell Williams, a six-foot, 270-pound defensive tackle, will take the field as a member of the Black squad. He shares a perspective similar to Henderson's.

"We're playing to win," said Williams, who will play for Tiffin University in the fall. "We're coming out to win and play hard.

"Overall, we really do want to have fun and enjoy each other as long as we possibly can, but we do plan to win."

Eastwood's Eric Rutherford, Clay's Nick Tammerine and St. John's Jesuit's Ryan Ball are among the notables scheduled to suit up in a Gold team uniform. Napoleon's Ryan Fleck, Central Catholic's Tyler Kleeberger and Whitmer's Donnie Dottei are among those expected to play for the Black team.

The game is out of Perrysburg for the second year in a row due to on-going construction on the school grounds where the Yellow Jackets practice and play their home games. Work is being done on the school's parking lot, which resulted in the game being switched to Whitmer. The game was held at Springfield a year ago.

The Yellow Jackets athletic boosters typically net roughly $6,000 from the game to help support Perrysburg's athletic programs.

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