OSKOSH, Wis. (NBC 26) — More than 200 of the best high school football players from across Wisconsin gathered in Oshkosh this week, for the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) All-Star Charity Football Games. Although they're normally enemies on the gridiron, this week they're all playing for the same goal; to raise money for Children's Wisconsin health care.
John Redders is the coach of the Large School North All-Star Team. He says raising money for Children's Wisconsin has a more personal meaning this year, after the hospital helped one of his players through a serious injury this past year.
"One of our cornerbacks, he took a pretty good shot to the head and the next thing you know things were not going well for him on the sideline…" Redders explained, "You go from that with the brain trauma to having surgery to relieve all the pressure in his brain. Children's Hospital they probably saved his life that day."
Recent Kimberly High School graduate Ethan Ducette is playing linebacker for the North team. He says a friend of his recently battled Leukemia, so he's happy to raise money to help kids.
"The fundraising is amazing, it's one of the main reasons I decided to play in the game…" he said, "playing for the guys who can't, it's bigger than football when you can put on a show for people for a bigger cause, it's an amazing opportunity."
Ducette hopes this weekend's games will bring a smile to those kids who are dealing with tough times.
"We're doing it for you, we're proud of you, keep pushing, whatever you're going through we got your back and hope you get through it."
Redders says the kids they've met with have inspired his team as well.
"Some of these kids end up being some of the toughest kids in the world to see what they go through…" he said, "they look at us 'man I like football' and all that, but I think that for these guys a lot of them look at these kids as being our heroes."
The All-Stars will play three games this weekend, with the 8-man teams kicking off at 6:00 Friday( July 14), the small schools at noon on Saturday, and the large schools at 4:00 Saturday (July 15). All three games will be held at UW Oshkosh's Titan Stadium.