A squad of 54 college seniors selected from 22 NCAA Division III schools have come together in Mexico to form ‘Team Stars & Stripes’ for the eighth annual Tazón De Estrellas this week.
Among the 54 players is Salve Regina University’s Middle Linebacker and Team Captain, Ethan Gambale. Gambale, an All-NEFC Second Team Linebacker and NEFC Academic All-Conference player, is the only player from Rhode Island to be selected.
An experienced coaching staff will lead Team Stars & Stripes against the host team CONADEIP All-Stars at Zorros Stadium at CETYS University in Mexicali on Saturday, December 17. The Americans lead the series 4-3 over their rival in the Tazón de Estrellas and Head Coach Don DeWaard holds a 3-1 record.
Gambale, a New Jersey native, made his second All-Conference team after also receiving second team honors last season with the Seahawks. He led the Seahawks in tackling in 2016, notching 70 tackles, 49 solo, 12.5 for loss and three sacks. Gambale also forced two fumbles, broke up three passes, had a fumble recovery and an interception. He is also started all ten games for the Seahawks in 2015, while recordomg 79 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, two pass breakups, and one forced fumble.
Tyler Bernadyn, contributor to What’sUpNewp, caught up with Gambale and Salve’s other team captain back in November before the Seahwaks fell in a championship game to Western New England. Read it here – Tyler’s Two Cents: The Undefeated Team That No One is Talking About
The 54 players arrived in Mexico on Sunday, December 11, and in addition to installing their game plan during daily practice sessions at CETYS University, will conduct a service project with local youth and will enjoy a visit to the San Felipe Beach in Baja.
The 22 Division III schools represented on the roster are Central College (8 players), Southwestern University (8), Grove City College (4), Lake Forest College (4), Minnesota Morris (4), Delaware Valley University (3), US Merchant Marine Academy (3), Aurora University (2), Augustana College (2), Kalamazoo College (2), Ohio Northern University (2), Trine College (2), Albion College (1), Beloit College (1), Carthage College (1), Loras College (1), Louisiana College (1), Salve Regina University (1), SUNY Maritime College (1), Trinity (1), Wartburg College (1), Wilkes University (1).
The offense will be led by quarterbacks Riley Gray from Central College and Brian Hicks of Southwestern University. Gray earned 2016 First team all-Iowa Conference honors with a 64.5 completion percentage, was second in the league with 24 passing touchdowns and his seven rushing touchdowns were tied for third in the league. Hicks led the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference with a pass efficiency rating of 138.3, earning a First Team selection, after he completed 139 of 328 passes for 1,692 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“We are overwhelmed by the interest among top quality D3 seniors from coast to coast, wanting to represent America, Division III football and their particular school in the Tazon de Estrellas,” said Global Football President and Team Stars & Stripes organizer Patrick Steenberge in a recent press release. “We have had to turn down a number of deserving young men in recent days due to our roster size and demand.
“Having 22 schools represented is wonderful, and a testimony to the efforts of John Roslien, our Director of Player Operations. He has been by my side for the past 19 years as we create Team Stars & Stripes and take them on another amazing Mexico experience. We are all eager to get there and share a week of football, friendship and culture.”
Team Stars & Stripes Roster
|63||Andy DiFranco||C||5-10||252||Albion College|
|6||Jack Asquini||MLB||5-8||233||Augustana College|
|94||Danny Lattner||WR||6-2||201||Augustana College|
|90||Mike Perry||LS||6-3||230||Aurora University|
|1||Justin Gibbons||DB||6-5||210||Aurora University|
|4||Mike Nolden||WR||6-2||210||Beloit College|
|2||K.J. Simpson||OLB||6-1||220||Carthage College|
|31||Jessie Peterson||ILB||6-2||220||Central College|
|16||Riley Gray||QB||6-1||195||Central College|
|88||Mitchell Boerm||TE||6-5||250||Central College|
|60||Kyle Pepper||C||6-1||275||Central College|
|20||Zach Matter||FS/SS||6-0||200||Central College|
|56||Cole Tanner||OL||6-2||275||Central College|
|32||Aaron Marcellus||PK||5-9||205||Central College|
|11||Zach Martinelli||WR||5-8||185||Central College|
|43||Robert Cleveland||RB||5-6||165||Delaware Valley|
|40||Jarrett Reinhard||FB/RB||5-9||225||Delaware Valley|
|0||Tyler Bing||WR||5-6||170||Delaware Valley|
|21||Jeff Croll||OLB||6-0||205||Grove City College|
|10||Brett Pinson||WR||6-0||175||Grove City College|
|84||Anthony Marnejon||P||6-0||200||Grove City College|
|50||Danny Dorman||DE||6-1||230||Grove City College|
|3||B.J. Smith||DB||6-0||195||Kalamazoo College|
|8||Sean Bauer||LB||6-1||225||Kalamazoo College|
|75||Will Danner||OL/DL||6-0||295||Lake Forest College|
|62||Martin Shine||OG||6-2||275||Lake Forest College|
|12||Brendan Power||DL||6-4||235||Lake Forest College|
|22||Alex Pasiewicz||WR||6-0||200||Lake Forest College|
|76||Joe Pagura||OL||6-2||305||Loras College|
|26||Brandon Battles||TE||6-2||250||Louisiana College|
|24||Daniel Eller||SS||6-1||200||Ohio Northern University|
|99||Scott Rapps||DT||6-6||285||Ohio Northern University|
|47||Ethan Gambale||MLB||6-1||240||Salve Regina University|
|5||Dylan Wilburn||RB||5-7||207||Southwestern University|
|70||Jacob Harton||OT||6-2||270||Southwestern University|
|19||Matt Gillen||WR||6-4||195||Southwestern University|
|13||Dante Smith||WR||6-2||210||Southwestern University|
|14||Bryan Hicks||QB||6-0||180||Southwestern University|
|49||Dereck Harenda||LG||6-0||245||Southwestern University|
|34||Tyler Frisby||LB||6-0||205||Southwestern University|
|45||Zach Cole||LB||5-11||220||Southwestern University|
|18||Brian Price||DB||6-5||210||SUNY Maritime College|
|44||Taylor James||LB||5-11||220||Trine University|
|53||Derek Scott||OL||6-0||265||Trine University|
|9||Darrien Myers||WR||5-9||170||Trinity College|
|86||Robert Baker||TE||6-3||230||US Merchant Marine Academy|
|72||Parker Johnson||OT||6-2||272||US Merchant Marine Academy|
|25||Patrick Keyes||DB||5-11||191||US Merchant Marine Academy|
|93||Seth Hestness||TE||6-5||235||Wartburg College|
|30||Tanner Stengel||LB||5-11||220||Wilkes University|
Coaching Staff: Head Coach: Don DeWaard (Central College). Assistant Coaches: John Storey (Villa St Angela St. Joseph HS, Cleveland, OH), Rob Cushman (University of Minnesota-Morris, Mike Creaney (Stevenson University), Steve Staker (Coe College), Joe Austin (Southwestern University). Player Personnel: John Roslien (Central College). General Manager: Patrick Steenberge. Support Staff: Frank Neu, Brett Boddicker, Ben Ewing, Kylie Bradley, Julia Evans (all Central College), Juan Lopez (Tarleton State University), Tim Glon (Ohio Northern University), Dan Vande Lune (University of Iowa/UTEP)