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The Suburbanite
  • All-Star game important to players, coaches say

  • Jackson High School head coach Beau Balderson has experienced The Repository East-West All-Star Football Game from different perspectives.

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  • Beau Balderson remembers the camaraderie among players in The Repository East-West All-Star Football game after his senior year at Marlington.
    “It’s something you’ll never forget as a player,” Balderson said at Monday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club. “It’s an opportunity to get to play with the guys from your home high school and meet guys who were your enemies. You find out you’re the same guys, particularly when you’re in the locker room talking.”
    This year, Balderson will see it from another perspective.
    The Jackson High School head coach will lead the West squad in the July 13 game at Fawcett Stadium. Balderson and East head coach Mike Schott of Alliance talked about the game at the luncheon club.
    “It’s worth the time you put in when you have all those kids,” Balderson said. “Some of them will go on to play Division III or Division II football. Some will not. It’s the last opportunity they’re going to have to play, and we want to make it an experience they’re going to remember forever.”
    Balderson hopes his track record with weather at all-star games improves this year. He coached an all-star game in Cuyahoga County that was shortened to 20 minutes with a running clock after a massive thunderstorm hit the area.
    When he was an East-West assistant a few years ago, the game was called at halftime because of a storm.
    “The kids were real upset,” Balderson said. “They wanted to go out and play in the lightning, but it goes to show you what kind of kids we’re picking from Stark County. It’s the best county in the entire state hands down when it comes to football.”
    Balderson said he jumped at the opportunity to be the West head coach when he was asked. The teams start practice July 5.
    He then realized his wife his due to give birth to their third child July 4.
    “We have two little girls and now we have a little boy coming,” Balderson said. “When I told her (I was coaching), she looked at me and was like ‘You got to be kidding.’”
    Balderson will be assisted by Jackson offensive line coach Jon Mazur and Massillon assistants Luke Durbin and AJ Vennetti. Working with Schott will be Alliance assistant Chris Zurbrugg, recently retired Sandy Valley head coach John Groff and St. Thomas Aquinas head coach Tim Budd.
    “It’s a great game,” Schott said. “The kids are going to be ready to play on both sides of the ball. It’s going to be very competitive.”
    Elected as club officers for 2013-14 were J.D. Graham, president; Tim Harbert, vice president; Jim Lindesmith, secretary; Dave Seffens, treasurer; and Mike Gallina, Jim Griffin and Larry Schweitzer, board of trustees.
    Page 2 of 2 - Reach Mike at 330-580-8341 or
    mike.popovich@cantonrep.com
    On Twitter: @mpopovichREP