Kaukauna’s Mason Van Zeeland talks about his big TD reception from Kimberly’s Cody Staerkel in the North’s 19-11 victory over the South All-Stars
Ricardo Arguello, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
OSHKOSH – It was only half of the scheduled fourÂ quarters but the young men playing in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association 8-Player All-Star football game knew it was worth it.
The SouthÂ squad led theÂ game 21-6 at halftime when a severe thunderstorm resulted in cancellation of the second half.
The football was fun for South running back Joseph Walstrom of Florence, but being part of the entire experience was more important.
“When you’re fund-raising, you’re imagining things but you don’t really know anybody, any particular faces that you’re thinking of,” he said. “You know there are kids going through a lot rougher things than you. Then when we met them (current patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin) donated and it was great. There are a lot of generous people out there in the world.
â€œIt was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.â€™ I don’t even know how to really say it. It made it so much more cool.”
Gibraltar’s Trevor Reinhardt, who ran for two scores and threw for a third, found meeting those who have been patients at Children’s Hospital a touching experience.
“You wouldn’t wish that upon anybody,” Reinhardt said. “I’m glad there is a game like this that’s willing to raise money for the organization.”
As part of the agreement to participate in the game, the players must do fund-raising for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Reinhardt, who raised nearly $5,700 for Children’s Hospital, had high praise for the people of Gibraltar.
“Up where I live, we have a very generous community,” Reinhardt said. “I had a friend who stayed at Children’s Hospital for a while. Unfortunately, he passed away. But it’s for a good cause. Our community backed us up. A lot of businesses donated and it was great.â€
Reinhardt was not only successful at fund-raising but at getting the South squad off to a fast start, hooking up with Newman Catholic’s Kasey Kalifice for a 58-yard catch-and-run on the game’s first play from scrimmage to put the ball on the 1.
“That’s what coach told me to do, to look for it,” Reinhardt said.
Reinhardt then finished off the drive with a 1-yard run.
After a three-and-out by the North, Reinhardt struck again, finding Addison Gibbs of John Edwards open for a 48-yard touchdown pass.
“All my receivers were great players,” said Reinhardt, who also hit Cade Kimball and Kalafice on 27- and 23-yard passes on the next drive. “They made my job a lot easier. I just needed to figure out the timing. Coach told me to just put a little air under it and they’ll find it.”
The South’s defense then forced another three-and-out to set up Reinhardt’s third score, a 2-yard touchdown run.
“We worked pretty hard for this whole week,” Nathan Stenzel of Sevastopol said. “It was really hot this week. Somebody had to break the streak and we were the team to do it.”
The North had won the first four 8-Player all-star games.
Stenzel said it was fascinating getting to know players who he had previously just said “good game” to in postgame handshake lines.
“They all had stories to tell,” said Stenzel, who had five tackles for the South. “We actually bonded pretty well together. Obviously, we had a similar goal in mind. It just made the team click easier.”
Contact Mike Sherry at (920) 996-7244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MikeSherry14.