By Mike McClure

Last Sunday participants in the DFRC Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game kicked off the week with a picnic event on Media Day at the University of Delaware. The week will culminate with the 68th annual game this Friday.

“It’s been fun so far. It’s been everything I’ve expected it to be,” Woodbridge grad Quincy Risper said of the Blue-Gold experience. He is joined on the Gold team by teammates Traci Johnson and Samuel Schroeder and coaches Marvin Dooley (head coach), Brandon Dooley, Dom Trotta, and J.D. Messeck.

Pictured (l to r) are the western Sussex football players on the Gold team: Traci Johnson (Woodbridge), Tre’von Paulson (Seaford), Quincy Risper (Woodbridge), Owen Chaffinch (Laurel), Xavier Limehouse (Laurel), Royce Scotton (Laurel), Zion Roach (Sussex Tech), and Samuel Schroeder (Woodbridge). Photo by Mike McClure

“It’s something to get used to, it’s a new experience,” Laurel’s Royce Scotton said.

“It’s a little more than I expected. Dorms are different,” said Seaford’s Tre’von Paulson. “Being here is a really good experience.”

The three Blue Raiders and three Bulldogs (Scotton, Xavier Limehouse, and Owen Chaffinch) will play together with their teammates once last time. “It feels good,” Johnson said.

“I think that’s one of my favorite parts,” added Risper

For the Laurel players it’s a chance to have college experience together and play on the UD field one last team. They won a pair of state championships on the field.

“It’s nice to be back here,” Chaffinch said of playing at the University of Delaware. 

“It’s nice to do (play together) one more time,” said Scotton.

For all of the players, on both teams, playing in the annual senior all-star game includes playing alongside players they competed against over the past few years.

“It’s different. We just try to get along with them. We know that they’re good players,” Sussex Tech senior Zion Roach said, adding that the situation was similar at Sussex Tech where he played alongside players from across the county.

“It’s kind of cool (getting to know them) outside of football,” said Risper, who will play football at Delaware Valley in the fall.

“It’s kind of weird but fun at the same time. We’ve been bumping heads against these guys for four years,” Limehouse added.

Paulson said the Gold team will look to come out and play together as a team on Friday night. He said he is looking forward to playing on a college field for the first time.

This year marks the 50th year of the Blue-Gold hand-in-hand program in which participants are matched with a buddy, a child or young adult between the ages of four and 18, with an intellectual disability. Some of the western Sussex players have been matched with a buddy and have already spent time with them.

“It was really eye opening to spend some time with somebody like that, making a memory that will probably last forever,” said Chaffinch, who played mini golf with his buddy, R.J.

“It’s a little different, it’s like a learning experience. You’re learning from a different experience from a different person,” Paulson added. He attended DFRC events with R.J.

Roach played wiffleball at his buddy’s house and ate pizza together with him at the hand-in-hand party. Both Roach and Paulson said the highlight of the experiences so far has been making their buddy smile.

 Marvin Dooley is serving as head coach in the game for the second time. He coached the Blue team, his son Brandon’s team, in 2016 and has been an assistant coach five times. Also serving as Gold assistant coaches are Sussex Tech assistant coach Eston Ennis, a former Woodbridge assistant coach and Laurel head coach who played in the game representing Laurel, and Patrick Moffitt (St. Andrew’s).

Other western Sussex participants include: Blue-Gold marching band- Anthony Balderas-Ortega, Sussex Tech; Mason Black, Sussex Tech; Rebekah Cullen, Sussex Tech; Thomas Davis, Jr., Sussex Tech; Piper Drace, Sussex Tech; Jada Eley, Sussex Tech; Joseph Faga, Sussex Tech; Alana Furst, Sussex Tech; Alexis Hagaman, Delmar; Claude Jean-Louis, Laurel; Ada Kitzmann, Sussex Tech; Kyle Koski, Delmar; Caydance Means, Delmar; Jackson Merritt, Sussex Tech; Jorda Meseguer Molina, Laurel; Tanner Munski, Sussex Tech; Shamiya Oney, Sussex Tech; Kaylee Popleas, Sussex Tech; Elizabeth Quinn, Laurel; Bradley Tomeski, Sussex Tech; William Turley, Sussex Tech; Sanai Youmens, Sussex Tech

Gold cheerleaders- Gabrielle Baynum, Delmar; Makayla Blackburn, Delmar; Melanie Dasher, Seaford; Kiara Harmon, Sussex Tech; Shania Kelser, Delmar; Chelsea Littleton, Laurel

Junior ambassadors- Brooklyn Adamas, Delmar; Kyleigh Chesley, Delmar; Gabriella Dendorfer, Delmar

Senior ambassadors- Emily Betts, Delmar; Owen Taylor, Delmar