MCDONALD, Ohio (WKBN) – All-star games are all about the experience. For the Trumbull all-star team that has gathered for the 33rd annual Jack Arvin Game Thursday night, it’s about putting aside pride and making a sacrifice for the betterment of the team.
“They all sort of have to leave their egos to the side, sort of, you know what I mean. Because they may be playing a position they didn’t play in their high school season,” McDonald and Trumbull County coach Dan Williams explained. “We’re asking some guys to play defense that were on offense and were all-stars at those positions as well.”
“What’s nice is those kids come in and they do whatever we ask. They play where ever we want. They just want to play, they want to play that last time with their buddies from high school and against those common foes from Mahoning County,” Williams added.
“We may try to work some kids in offensively that may not have gotten a lot of reps offensively in practice with the heat and humidity, with how warm it’s going to be this week. It’s going to be important that we use a lot of kids,” Williams concluded.
For three players, in particular, the experience of being in this all-star game is very special. Defensive back Dylan Portolese, defensive lineman Dale Wolford, and linebacker Joey Celli all played for coach Williams at McDonald. This game gives them one last chance to play for their coach.
“It’s great. In the fall when everything ended you think it’s the last time playing with your coach and all the assistant coaches and a couple kids on your team. But to be selected for this and have your own coaching staff coaching you with a couple of your guys, it’s going to be a fun experience,” Portolese remarked.
“Now that we get to do this one last time. We’ll enjoy it and really realize this is the last time being together,” Portolese added. “Savor the moment and enjoy it.”
Portolese also pointed out his appreciation for the talent he is getting to play with on this Trumbull team, “The guys from the bigger schools really shows you the talent around here and a lot of guys playing at the next level. So you get to see all the talent from around the area that you didn’t really get to see because you were playing the same night as them. But to play with some of these guys is unbelievable.”
One of those talented players is Niles quarterback/defensive back Tyler Srbinovich. Srbinovich plans on playing football this fall at Waynesburg University.
“It’s an honor,” Srbinovich said of being named to the Trumbull team. “I would go watch it every year and see guys from our school represent us. So it feels good to be able to be chosen to go represent who I played for the past couple of years.”
“It puts me up against better competition, the best guys all around going at it with each other one last time,” Srbinovich said about the game providing a test before playing at the college level. “And a different dose of offense which gives me a little more under my belt that I can go and use when I go to the next level.”
For the four members from Warren JFK, the game is a special moment, but will never match the excitement that they experienced last fall with a state championship. This game gives them a chance to play one more time at the scholastic level.
“It’s exciting to be able to play one more high school game. One last chance to step on the field with your friends and everything. To have some fun,” Receiver/defensive back Dan McCartney said. “So it means a lot.”
“Nothing quite compares to winning state. It doesn’t get any better than that in high school football,” McCartney admitted. “But it has been a lot of fun practicing with all my guys and everything.”
Srbinivich also pointed out that the game will be a bittersweet ending to all of their high school careers. It will be the last time they will play with and face some former rivals and friends.
“It’s bittersweet, some of them we got a little close just training and stuff together. Some of them are ready to get back out there and hit again,” Srbinovich said with a chuckle.
The Trumbull team will have 27 players on the roster Thursday night, representing 11 area schools. Kickoff for the Jack Arvin game will be at 7:00 pm at Hubbard High School.