Are You Ready? Philadelphia City All-Star Football Game Preview
As the end of the school year approaches, senior high school student-athletes have events to look forward to such as prom and graduation. But for some, their last few weeks will consist of preparing for the Philadelphia City All-Star football game. Although the high school football season wrapped up in December, selected seniors from the Philadelphia Public League, Philadelphia Catholic League and the Inter-Academic League will take the field together one last time.
On Saturday, the players chosen to participate in the Philadelphia City All-Star football game gathered at Lincoln High School for picture day. The non-public team, consisting of Catholic League and Inter-Ac players, was the first to arrive, compiled of athletes from 14 different schools. The pubic league squad arrived shortly after with representation of 23 schools.
Both teams are assigned coaches from the appropriate program. The non-public players are lead by Father Judge’s head coach Mike McKay. Troy Gore, head coach from Delaware Valley Charter, holds the reigns on the public league side.
In between their photo sessions, professional and selifes, I caught up with a few players from both sides and asked what this experience meant to them.
Defensive linemen Dom Carey, out of Father Judge, describes his opportunity to participate in
the game as the “Holy Grail.”
“I’ve played football my whole life, 10-12 years so… Growing up in Mayfair and going to St. Matt’s and going to Father Judge, it’s what was around me, it was the environment,” said Carey.
For Carey, having Coach McKay involved in the All-Star game is “pretty cool,” with a chemistry that is already there.
Next step: Amherst College
From Archbishop Wood, running back Shawn Thompson ended his senior season as a PIAA 5A State Champion, his second state football title.
For Thompson, his participation in the All-Star game “means a lot because you always want to play in an all-star game and for you to play in an all-star game with a bunch of good guys around you… And to see people come out and come watch you is a great feeling.”
Next step: East Stroudsburg University.
Not many are able to say the City All-Star game is a family tradition. Except for Sy Madden, running back out of LaSalle College High School.
“This game right here hits home because my two brothers played in it, so to carry on that great tradition of athletic excellence I want to really perform well in this game,” Madden expressed.
Next step: Saint Francis University
While some schools have up to five players participating, others only have one.
Quarterback Michael Hnatkowsky is the lone player out of Penn Charter this year. Despite not being surrounded by teammates, Hnatkowsky considers it “a great honor.”
“It’s been around for 42 years and just to be a apart of it, it’s a great honor.”
He continued, “Penn charter is a smaller school. I just worked hard, did what I had to do, and I’m just grateful to be here.”
Next step: Muhlenberg College
Amin Black, linebacker from Imhotep Charter, started later than his surrounding peers. But that didn’t stop him nor affect his future success.
“Tenth grade I went in not really knowing what I was looking for I didn’t know what position I wanted to play. Eleventh grade I finally got a starting spot as linebacker and led the team to a state championship. In twelfth grade my recruiting process started picking up and here I am now,” Black explained.
“It’s a good experience for me I can come out in front of my city one last time before I go to college… I was looking forward to this all year.”
Next step: Villanova University
For Daniel Haskell from Kensington High, football became an outlet as a way of staying
on a clear path.
The offensive lineman says, “It means a lot. It shows all of the hard work from freshman year that I’ve put in, to finally be able to play in an All-Star game with college coaches watching.
Football opened a lot of scholarships for me for college. When I was younger I didn’t really like football, but as I got older and bigger, it was the best thing for me. It got me out of trouble and everything,” Haskell concluded.
Next step: Cheney University
After transferring schools for his senior year, defensive back Sheir-ron Whittaker from Delaware Valley Charter still managed to make the best out of being on a new team and landed himself a spot on the All-Star squad.
“This is big to me because the game represents our city and I get to play in front of everyone that I know. One last game before I go away,” said Whittaker.
He continued. “Transferred schools going into my senior year, had a great senior season. I feel like this is a good thing to end it on.”
Next step: University of New Hampshire
Fellow Del Val teammate Maurice McCray set the All-Star City game as a goal, and the linebacker achieved just that.
“It’s really important to me because this is the game I’ve wanted to play [in] since I came to high school. I went to all of the games at Northeast High School field and I just wanted to be here,” said McCray.
Next step: University of Maine
The Philadelphia City All-Star game is on Saturday May 20, 2017 at 5 p.m. at Northeast High School at Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium. The Sports Fan Base Network will broadcast the game live online. Go to www.TheSFBN.com for more information.
(Photo Credit: Wave Lane)
2017 Public League Roster
2017 Non-Public League Roster
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