BRISTOL - Itâ€™s been five years, but that doesnâ€™t mean the renewed Governorâ€™s Cup between the Connecticut and Rhode Island All-Stars wonâ€™t bring quality football to Rentschler Field in East Hartford on June 30.
Over the last five years, the Connecticut All-Stars faced off against each other in the â€śSuper 100â€ť Senior All-Star football game. Now, itâ€™s time for some out-of-state competition and there are some local players on the roster representing their state.
Bristol Centralâ€™s Gabriel Updegraff will be part of the team. The offensive lineman will be continuing his playing career at Western New England in the fall. He was part of a Rams offense this past season that was dominant on the ground.
"It means a lot because growing up, football has meant a lot to me and it's a big part of my family,â€ť Updegraff said of being selected to the Connecticut team. â€śIt's a great opportunity to play with some great players from the state."
Updegraffâ€™s teammate, Dathan Hickey, was often the one running the ball behind Updegraff and his fellow offensive linemen. Hickey was asked to play but opted not to as he gets ready to battle for a role on the Yale football team in the fall as an incoming freshman.
â€śI think itâ€™s great that theyâ€™re bringing the game back first off,â€ť Hickey said. â€śI was honored to be asked to try out but I want to keep focused on starting at Yale, which is my goal. A lot of great players are representing the state though and theyâ€™ll get the job done I think.â€ť
For Jude Kellyâ€™s St. Paul team, the 2017 seasons was a strong one with the Falcons finishing with eight wins. Similar to the Rams, St. Paul was a force running the football and Dominic Aiello was a big reason why on the line. Aiello will be teaming up with Updegraff up front to take on Rhode Island. It will be the first time the two played together since playing for the Bristol Bulldogs growing up.
"I think to play in the game is an awesome opportunity," Aiello said. "It's great that they brought the game back against Rhode Island. It's an opportunity to not only represent yourself and your team but also your state."
Among other area schools, Newington will have three players participate, while Southington will send two.
For the Indians, Damon Stewart, Kamani Chambers and Luke Pappalardo will be on the roster.
Stewart and Chambers were standout linemen and Pappalardo shined as a wide receiver and defensive back for Newington.
Ian Hall and Tim Oâ€™Shea will represent the Blue Knights in the game and will have a familiar face on the sidelines, as Southington head coach Mike Drury will be part of the coaching staff.
Hall is a linebacker, while Oâ€™Shea will join Pappalardo in the receiving core.
Plainville head coach Tim Shea will join Drury on the coaching staff.
Dan Orencole can be reached atÂ 860-973-1811 orÂ firstname.lastname@example.org