By Sue Moore
The opportunity to play one more football game before going off to college this summer was just too good to pass up for Mark Phelps of Schoolcraft and Austin Bresnahan of Vicksburg.
They’ve been selected to be among the 100 players from the west side of Michigan to play in the Addix All-Star game on Friday, June 8 at Hope College’s stadium in Holland. A total of 300 players were nominated by their high school football coaches from around the area; 100 of those were chosen by a team of sports writers in Grand Rapids.
Addix is a sports clothing manufacturer headquartered in Grand Rapids which started the all-star idea three years ago and chooses athletes from the greater Grand Rapids area. It has expanded the selection opportunity to schools from north to Traverse City, south to the Indiana border and Lansing to the west. The coaches are Mike Enders from Portage Central and Elliott Uzelac from Benton Harbor who coached previously at the University of Michigan and Western Michigan University.
Both of the local players will play football at their chosen colleges this fall. The all-star experience gives them a nice tune-up to play and compete with some outstanding athletes from this side of the state. All the proceeds from the game will go to Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids, which provides free cancer and grief support.
Mark Phelps played middle linebacker for four years at Schoolcraft with great success. He will take the field in the fall with the Olivet Nazarene University team in Kankakee, Ill.. He has been a dual enrollment student at Schoolcraft High School, attending morning classes at Kalamazoo Valley Community College during his senior year. He carries a 3.7 GPA with all A’s this year at KVCC.
Phelps comes by his football bona fides in a special way. His dad, Kurt Phelps, has served as a football coach at Mattawan, Vicksburg and Schoolcraft. He is the strength and conditioning instructor at Vicksburg High School. Rachel Phelps, Mark’s mom, serves the school as administrative assistant for community education programs in Vicksburg
“I started out thinking I would be a baseball player, practicing in the back yard with my dad as a switch hitter. I didn’t love the contact part of football. I had to grow into it by gaining self-confidence from my coaches in middle school, Jeff Clark and Ted Manning,” Phelps said. “Then my dad would work with me on lifting weights, talking defensive schemes and different coverages. Now I hope to coach someday as I plan to major in exercise science and physical education at Olivet Nazarene. I’m excited about playing in the all-star game,” Phelps said.
Austin Bresnahan was an outstanding linebacker and co-captain his senior year for Vicksburg. He was recommended by head football coach Tom Marchese. Besides his football ability and being chosen as academic all-state in football, he is a hard-hitting outfielder on Vicksburg’s baseball team. He was named to Vicksburg’s top 10 academic graduates for the class of 2018, carrying a 4.1 GPA. He plans to attend Kalamazoo College to play football and major in business and marketing. His parents are Deb and Tom Bresnahan, who settled in Vicksburg over 18 years ago, before Austin was born.