By SHANNON DOVE
FOR THE COURIER
FOSTORIA — Fireworks are coming to Fostoria early and football fans will get a chance to see them when the East All-Stars defense meets the West’s offense in the 27th annual East-West Time Warner Coaches’ All-Star game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Fostoria’s Memorial Stadium.
Admission is $7.
Through the first 12 years the East dominated the all-star game, but the West has won nine of the last 12 encounters.
Joe Kirkendall, head coach at Leipsic High School, leads this year’s West squad. The East will be coached by Todd Drusback, who coached at Fremont St. Joseph but will be taking over at Rossford in the fall.
Kirkendall and Drusback are familiar with one another.
Leipsic and St. Joseph played a preseason scrimmage, then wound up meeting in the first round of the playoffs last fall. Now they go head -to-head once again.
“There’s always that mutual respect when you play people during the season,” Drusback said. “It’s nice when the Calvert and the Hopewell-Loudon and the Carey kids, Seneca East, all come together and play on one team. You get to know those guys a little bit that you’ve heard about or met.”
“It’s been fun, because with Wes Ulm from St. John’s and the Patrick Henry kids, those are guys we’ve coached against,” Kirkendall said. “Then you’ve got the kids in the Blanchard Valley Conference who have played against each other, and the Ottawa-Glandorf kids know everyone in Putnam County. We’ve got great kids and it’s been really easy for everyone to kind of mesh together.”
Local coaches nominate five players from their team and once the East and West coaches are chosen, they cull through the nominations to build their teams.
Drusback thinks his team’s defense will be especially strong, featuring Cy Strahm and Trevor Phoenix from Carey. Justin Hines from Fremont Ross will also get a chance to play after missing most of his senior year with a broken arm.
Drusback will use “Tiffin linebackers”, using a combination of kids from Calvert, Columbian and Hopewell-Loudon.
“It’s speed, athleticism,” Drusback said. “That’s my philosophy. Speed kills.”
The East will go with Garrett Walker of St. Joseph at quarterback. His backup will be Lakota’s John Timmons.
Drusback’s defense will have its hands full with the West offense, which features four 1,000-yard rushers in the backfield.
John Anderson of Cory-Rawson was the Blanchard Valley Conference offensive player of the year last fall. Rayce Risser of Columbus Grove and Luke George of Patrick Henry also rushed for 1,000 yards. Arlington’s Matt Morehart missed most of his senior year with an injury, but was a 1,000-yard rusher as a junior.
Kirkendall also has four athletes that will continue their careers in college. Brett Pasche of Liberty-Benton will play linebacker at Hillsdale College while George, Isaac Krinke (Leipsic) and Josh Lee (Pandora-Gilboa) will all attend Findlay.
“He might be the most impressive athlete that we have,” Kirkendall said of Lee, who play at defensive end for the Oilers.
East All-Star Roster
1-Tyler Ward (Columbian) RB, OLB; 2- Andre Cousin (Fostoria) WR, FS; 3-Cy Strahm (Carey) WR, CB; 4-Jordan Bulkowski (Fostoria) WR, ILB; 7-John Timmons (Lakota) QB, OLB; 10-Chris Black (Gibsonburg) WE, SS; 11-Garrett Walker (St. Joseph) QB, FS; 12-Derek Kneeskern (Columbian) WR, CB; 13-Wyatt Garber (Upper Sandusky) TB, FS; 18-Justin Hines (Ross) WR, CB; 20-Jeremy Robbins (Lakota) RB, OLB; 22-Jeff Stover (Calvert) FB, MLB; 26-Sean Brawley (St. Joseph) WR, CB; 30-Trevor Phoenix (Carey) RB, CB; 31-D.J. Dyer (Carey) OG, DE; 33-Trey Tyree (Columbian) LB; 34-Aaron Kapelka (Hopewell-Loudon) RB, DB; 35-Dillon Kwiat (Calvert) RB, OLB; 36-Alex Johannson (Rossford) RB, LB; 45-Matt Brickner (Hopewell-Loudon) RB, LB; 53-Kyle Saxton (Columbian) OT, DT; 55-Hudson Smith (Hopewell-Loudon) OT, LB; 60-Dominic Zelenak (Fostoria) C, DE; 61-Jared Case (Carey) C, DT; 62-Alex Macielewicz (St. Joseph) C, DL; 63-Josh Walker (St. Joseph) OL, DT; 68-Andrew Maas (Rossford) OL, DT; 72-Aric Hoover (Hopewell-Loudon) OG, DT; 77-Trae Cusac (Carey) OT, DT; 86-Richard Wonnell (Genoa) TE, DE; 88-Victor Layton (Ross) K; 96-Shane Durnwald (Ross) DL.
West All-Star Roster
1-Luke George (Patrick Henry) RB, DB; 2-Derrick Schroeder (Leipsic) RB, DB; 3-Matt Morehart (Arlington) RB, DB; 5-Naz Ludwig (Bowling Green) WR, S; 6-Rayce Risser (Columbus Grove) RB, DB; 7-Marc Johnson (Lima Senior) WR, DB; 9-Aaron Albright (Woodmore) WR, OLB; 10-Jake Metzger (Arcadia) WR, CB;11-Jonathan Stoner (Bowling Green) WR, FS; 12-Zach Buckland (Ottawa-Glandorf) WE, CB; 15-Ben Niese (Cory-Rawson) RB, DT; 16-Brett Pasche (Liberty-Benton) LB; 17-Eric Schaible (Findlay) K, P; 19-Corey Fry (McComb) RB, LB; 20-John Anderson (Cory-Rawson) RB, LB; 28-Jesse Cramer (McComb) WR, DB; 31-Wes Ulm (Delphos St. John) WB, S; 33-Tyler Akers (Van Buren) RB, LB; 34-Dion Hurley (Lima Senior) LB; 47-Isaac Krinke (Leipsic) OT, DT; 52-Clay Lilly (McComb) RB, DL; 55-Joe Imbrock (Patrick Henry) LB; 58-Brandon Rister (North Baltimore) OG, LB; 59-Josh Lee (Pandora-Gilboa) WR, DE; 61-Brent Sager (Ottawa-Glandorf) OT, DT; 62-Jeff Cole (Findlay) OT; 65-Brad Yarnell (Patrick Henry) OT, DT; 70-Kaleb Evans (Liberty-Benton) DE; 72-Ben St. John (Woodmore) OT, DT; 77-Clay Baker (Arcadia) OT, DE; 80-Logan Niese (Cory-Rawson) OG, DE; 81-Jay Maag (Leipsic) WR, S.