Rosters for the 40th annual Minnesota High School Coaches All-Star Football Game will include two area seniors on the North team.
Blaine defensive back Joe Robel, who will attend Augustana College (South Dakota), and Spring Lake Park defensive lineman Daulton Olinger, who will attend the University of Sioux Falls (South Dakota), will represent their respective programs on the North All-Stars one more time before heading off to college.
For the second year in a row, a Spring Lake Park coach will also be on the North staff. Assistant coach and Butch Nash Award winner Will Wackman was named to Becker Head Coach Dwight Lundeen’s staff.
“I had no idea and I had an email about the award, so it is pretty humbling to be honored,” said Wackman, the defensive coordinator, said as he prepared for the pending golf season, for which he will be the Panthers head coach.
Wackman didn’t know what his duty would be on Lundeen’s staff, but assumed it will have to do with defense.
The game format limits what the defense can do in schemes against the opposing offense. On top of that, teams have only one week to learn about each other and install a game plan.
“It’s totally different because you only have a week to prepare and the offense has to show you what they’re doing,” Wackman said.
Part of his weekly duties normally include finding the weakness in the opposition. That idea goes out the window in an elite-level game.
Wackman looks forward to coaching players like Olinger, he said. “If I get to work with kids at the same caliber of Daulton on the d-line – that would be pretty fun,” Wackman said.
The plan for the game seems to be fairly basic. “Let’s stop the run and if they pass then go get them,” Wackman said.
Last season Panthers head coach Jeff Schlief led the North All-Stars staff.
Anoka assistant coach Ralph Weber also earned a Butch Nash Award, for which up to eight assistant coaches are named.
Criteria for the honor include being active in the high school program; someone who steps forward into a leadership role to receive praise and criticism and is nearly ready to be a head coach and years of service. Only one coach can be nominated per team.
Wackman leaned on Schlieff for ideas of what to expect on the sidelines.
“Everyone I’ve talked to said it’s a great time and something everyone should have the chance to experience. Jeff said, ‘You gotta do it.’” Wackman said.
One thing he is looking forward to is the North-South format where big-school players line up alongside nine-man players for one common goal, he said.
The senior-only rosters were announced by the state football coaches association April 1 for the annual all star game at Husky Stadium in St. Cloud June 29.
This is the 40th consecutive year for the event, the 51st overall year and third year in its current North-versus-South format.
Teams were divided by Outstate versus Metro from 1980-2010. This North-South format originally ran from 1945-60 then 1974-1979 and the series is tied 9-9-1 after 19 games.
A total of 29 all-state players were named to the roster with 14 players from the 2012 Prep Bowl, including nine state champions.
Osseo running back Bridgeport Tusler is scheduled to take part after earning all of the major post-season individual awards including the 2012 AP Player of the Year, Mr. Football Award winner and Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year.
The Northwest Suburban Conference has nine players on the roster and Totino-Grace earns the top-nod with three players taking part.
Jason Olson is at [email protected]