East, West football All-Stars line up tonight at Towson U.

74 players to represent every region of Maryland

High Schools

July 09, 2004|By Ryan Young | Ryan Young,SUN STAFF

Towson University is the meeting point of the state's top high school football talent tonight for the East-West All-Star Game.

More than 200 graduating seniors across Maryland auditioned at one of two April combines for a spot in the intrastate showcase at Johnny Unitas Stadium. The East and West squads, separated by Interstate 95, each selected 36 players and a kicking specialist based on performance at the combine, game tape and input from area coaches.

The game evolved from past all-star contests such as the Big 33, Super 44 and most recently the Chesapeake Classic - which pitted Maryland players against those from Northern Virginia. This is the second year of the East vs. West format.

"A lot of people in recruiting circles have been saying Maryland is the best-kept secret," said Vince Ahearn, the game's director. "It's no longer a secret. We wanted to have a venue where we could include a lot more of our kids."

Every region in the state is represented. The East squad, coached by Mike Mayo (Charles Herbert Flowers High), includes players from Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County. The West, coached by Dean Swink (Walt Whitman), includes athletes from Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties.

With the game moving from Cumberland to Towson, Ahearn anticipates the crowd to more than double from the roughly 2,000 who attended last year.

Kickoff is at 7:30. Tickets are $5.

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