Team Stars & Stripes Headed To Mexico For Tazón De Estrellas

A squad of 54 college seniors selected from 22 NCAA Division III schools will come together to form Team Stars & Stripes to head to Mexico for the eighth annual Tazón De Estrellas from December 10-18.

An experienced coaching staff will lead Team Stars & Stripes against the host team CONADEIP (La Comisión Nacional Deportiva Estudiantil de Instituciones Privadas – top college league in Mexico) 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.

DeWaard has added former Coe College head coach Steve Staker to his staff, which includes Southwestern University head coach Joe Austin, Minnesota Morris head coach Rob Cushman, Mike Creaney of Stevenson University and Villa Angela-St Joseph’s (Cleveland, OH) head coach John Storey. Full details of the Tazón de Estrellas can be found at Global Football.

The 54 players are scheduled to arrive 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).

View the full roster here.

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.

Download player bios here.

“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. “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

No.
Name
Pos.
Ht.
Wt.
School
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
58
Colin Everson
DE
6-0
225
Minnesota-Morris
38
J.C. Cummings
RB
5-7
195
Minnesota-Morris
15
Kyle Petermeier
WR/TE
6-3
195
Minnesota-Morris
7
Evan Guffey
WR
6-2
180
Minnesota-Morris
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)

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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