Faith Regional Health Services Announced as Title Sponsor of New Northeast Nebraska All-Star Football Classic.
Norfolk –August 1, 2012: The first Northeast Nebraska All-Star Football Classic, featuring many of the area’s finest graduating seniors, will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2013 at Norfolk’s Veteran’s Memorial Park.
Jeff Bellar, principal and head football coach at Norfolk Catholic High School, who serves as the President of the NEN All-Star Football Classic Board of Directors, said the Classic is a great opportunity to promote football, recognize athletes and their hard work. “This is a very exciting time for football in Northeast Nebraska,’’ Bellar said.
Bellar also said the Classic will allow Northeast Nebraska area schools to interact at a professional level. “The game will allow coaches to work together and help one another,’’ he said. “It will also allow athletes to get to know one another and compete together. And, against each other.’’
The creation of the NEN Classic Board of Directors has been in the works for nearly six months. Many partnerships have already evolved, including a title sponsor for the Classic. “It was important to our Board of Directors that a sponsor be in place before the start of this year’s high school football season,’’ Bellar said. “There’s not a better time to announce the creation of this game.”
“We are very pleased to announce Faith Regional Health Services as our Title Sponsor. Proceeds from the game will go toward the purchase of equipment to support the needs of athletes at a new Rehabilitation/Wellness Center that Faith Regional is planning to develop,” added Bellar. “We are looking forward to a long-term relationship with our friends and partners at Faith Regional.”
Jim Sinek, President and CEO of Faith Regional Health Services, said he is very pleased to be working with such a dedicated group of leaders across Northeast Nebraska. “It takes vision, passion and courage to accomplish an initiative of this magnitude. The NEN Classic Board Members reflects those traits and Faith Regional is proud to be associated with them!”
The Football Classic will showcase elite athletes from across Northeast Nebraska and ultimately support all athletes from the region by investing the proceeds into Faith Regional’s Sports Medicine, Sports Enhancement, Rehabilitation (physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy) and Wellness Services. The All-Star Classic will be re-investing in the health and welfare of students athletes across Northeast Nebraska.
As “Title’’ sponsor of the football game, Sinek said a dedicated area within the Rehabilitation/Wellness Center facility would be identified as the All-Star Classic Wall of Honor and the name Northeast Nebraska All-Star Football Classic, along with group photos of the players and coaches from every year would be displayed.
ALL-STAR CLASSIC BOARD of Director and Madison Athletic Director Mike Sunderman said the game will provide an opportunity to showcase the football talent in Northeast Nebraska. “This will give area athletes a chance to compete against the best,’’ Sunderman said. “Giving the players and coaches a chance to compete in this "arena"
is a once in a lifetime event. And, having the area schools and communities represented by these young men gives each community a chance to show their enthusiasm and pride in their young people.”
Sunderman also said the Classic will allow the athletes, fans, and families to enjoy what the Norfolk area has to offer as far as recreation, entertainment and shopping, while at the same time being able to give back to Northeast Nebraska with the proceeds of the game going to an outstanding charitable cause.
In addition to Bellar and Sunderman, the Board of Directors’ officers include: Vice President, Mark Brahmer, Principal and Head Football Coach at Pierce High School; Secretary, Tim Brogan of Norfolk, Attorney at Law; and, Treasurer, Dennis Dolliver, Assistant Principal and Activities Director at Norfolk High School.
Additional Board of Directors include: Eric Kessler, Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Humphrey St. Francis High School; Mike Speirs, Head Football Coach at Howells-Dodge High School; Tom Olson, Head Football Coach at Norfolk High School; Rich Rethwisch, retired Head Football Coach at Wayne High School; and, Mike Fuehrer, Sports Development Manager, Norfolk Area Sports Council.
Bellar said 59 high school teams will be invited to nominate football players for selection to one of the two teams that will be determined at a later date. “We’re announcing this Classic at this time because we want our area athletes and coaches to start getting excited prior to the start of this year’s football season,’’ Bellar said. “During the winter months we’ll ask the area coaches to nominate players, a committee will evaluate the nominations, and then, we’ll start inviting athletes to participate. We believe this will be an outstanding opportunity for these young men.’’
Bellar said the area football teams eligible to nominate athletes for the All-Star Football Classic include: Allen; Bancroft-Rosalie; Battle Creek; Bloomfield; Boone Central/Newman Grove (at Albion); Boyd County (at Spencer)/Lynch; Clarkson/Leigh; Clearwater/Orchard; Creighton; Crofton; CWC Chambers/Wheeler Central; Elgin/Pope John; Elkhorn Valley (at Tilden); Emerson-Hubbard; Guardian Angels Central Catholic (at West Point); Hartington High; Hartington Cedar Catholic; Homer; Howells-Dodge; Humphrey High; Humphrey St. Francis; Laurel-Concord/Coleridge; Lindsay Holy Family; Logan View; Lutheran High Northeast (at Norfolk); Lyons-Decatur Northeast; Macy; Madison; Neligh-Oakdale; Newcastle; Niobrara/Verdigre; Norfolk Catholic; Norfolk High; O’Neill/Ewing; Oakland-Craig; Osmond; Pender; Pierce; Plainview; Ponca; Randolph; Santee; Scribner-Snyder; South Sioux City; Spalding/Spalding Academy; St. Mary’s (at O’Neill); Stanton; Stuart; Tekamah-Herman; Wakefield; Walthill; Wausa; Wayne; West Holt (at Atkinson); West Point-Beemer; Winnebago; Winside; Wisner-Pilger; Wynot.
Bellar said corporate sponsorships are being sold to help fund the expenses of creating the all-star game. In fact, Bellar said radio stations 94 Rock and 106 KIX Country of Norfolk are supporting the event equally throughout the year, with the exception of broadcasting the first game. “94 Rock won the coin toss and will be solely broadcasting the first game and 106 KIX Country will solely broadcast the game in 2014,” Bellar said. “Then the two stations will alternate yearly.’’ He said both stations will also stream live audio of the game online.
BRAHMER SAID THE Board of Directors created the all-star game to provide many deserving Northeast Nebraska football players an opportunity to play in a football all-star game. “Good players aren't picked for either the 8-man game or the Shrine Bowl, so this provides these young men with a chance to play one last game as a high school athlete prior to going to college,’’ Brahmer said.
He also said the Classic relates to how it will affect “me’’ as a coach and how it will impact “my’’ players. “I will have a good handful of senior football players that will set this as a goal to reach,’’ he said.
Brahmer also said the game will affect his community. “As you know, Pierce has a rich football tradition and the people of Pierce take a great deal of pride in our performance on the field,’’ he said. “I believe this game will be well-attended by the Pierce community and our students because they always follow and support ‘our boys’ very well.’’
KESSLER SAID THE CLASSIC is an “exciting’’ opportunity to showcase the talent that performs in Northeast Nebraska. “This area has been known statewide for it's great football programs over the years and this game will be a way to showcase the talents of the best players and coaches in the area on an annual basis,’’ Kessler said.
“Our geographic region has so many great programs in both the 8- and 11-man ranks that it really should be a special event. Additionally, the people that are involved in this event are really trying to create a first-class event. I think all the participants will have a great experience and I think it is something that all the northeast communities that have players represented are going to want to get behind and support.
“I am honored to be part of the group that has been doing some of the work to get this game started. In my humble opinion, it is a group made up of some of the absolute best coaches/people in the entire state. We are going to be able to help with a charity aspect of the game, which will help our youth. Additionally, it will bring people and therefore money to Norfolk and give them a chance to showcase their town and Memorial field as well.’’
SPEIRS, WHO HAS coached 8-man and 11-man football teams, said he believes this game will give some very talented players another chance to be recognized for their abilities. “Northeast Nebraska has a lot of talented players who may not get invited to play in other all-star games, so this game will be their chance,’’ he said.
Speirs also said it is the Board of Directors hope that this game will be an honor for kids to be selected for and to participate in. “It will give them a chance to compete with a lot of the great football players from the surrounding area that they spent the last few years competing against,’’ he said.
DOLLIVER SAID THE Classic will showcase Northeast Nebraska football. “The game will give the players a great opportunity to show talent and have a great time at the event,’’ he said
Dolliver also said he expects the game to have a positive impact on coaches and players alike. He also said it’s a great opportunity to raise dollars for an important charity. “It will be a great chance for coaches to work with some of the outstanding young men in Northeast Nebraska,’’ he said. “Players will get to play with other outstanding players from the area - hopefully respect, sportsmanship and great friendships will develop.’’
OLSON SAID THE football Classic is a great opportunity to showcase graduating seniors in Northeast Nebraska. “I relate this event to the Northeast Nebraska Track & Field Classic where kids from all sizes of schools compete against each other,’’ he said, “but, this goes beyond that. These kids will become teammates and that’s a chance for them to have a positive experience beyond their high school careers.’’
Olson also said the football Classic is creating a solid foundation. “I’m overwhelmed at the support we’ve received from our community and all of Northeast Nebraska, and, the quality of coaches and administrators I’m working with,’’ he said. “There are a lot of great people working very hard to bring this event together and I’m looking forward to a lot of positive experiences.’’
RETHWISCH, WHO RETIRED this past winter as Wayne High School’s coach, said the best benefit will be for the players, their school and community, and the charity which benefits from the area's participation in this annual contest. “It certainly will give the student-athlete something more tangible to have as a career goal,’’ Rethwisch said.
“I was fortunate enough to be involved with the Shrine Bowl as a coach and an official, and it is a great event, but it is state wide and obviously much more difficult to be selected. I like the fact this gives our players one more option to represent their school and community.’’
Rethwisch said Northeast Nebraska is a continual hotbed for great playoff teams that compete highly during state playoffs. He said he also wants to see the event become a first-class event right from the very start. “Norfolk's new additions at Memorial Field certainly will be an exciting arena for those involved,’’ he said.
BROGAN, A 20-YEAR FOOTBALL OFFICIAL has had the opportunity through the years to see many of the teams and players of all classes within Northeast Nebraska. “The All-Star Football Classic is a great way to showcase the talented football players we have in this area,’’ he said. “Northeast Nebraska is justifiably renowned for good, quality football…the teams and players are extremely well coached. This game will no doubt reflect this level of quality.”
THE NORFOLK AREA SPORTS Council (NASC) has also stepped forward and his supporting the game. In fact, the NASC will serve as a ticket outlet leading up to the game, according to Sports Development Manager, Mike Fuehrer.
Fuehrer also said the NASC will be developing a link to its website (www.sportsinnorfolk.com) just for the All-Star Classic. “The Football Board of Directors wants to have as much information as possible on the link for all coaches, players and fans to view,’’ Fuehrer said.
“This event has the potential to be one of the biggest athletic events in Norfolk on an annual basis. We’re going to roll out the red carpet for these young men. We want them to feel like this is one of the best football experiences in their careers. For some of these guys it will be there last competitive football game.’’
For more information about the Northeast Nebraska All Star Classic, contact Mike Fuehrer at the NASC between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. by calling (402) 371-2932.
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