Shriners Football game tonight

By Mike Carraggi
Globe Correspondent / June 18, 2010

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Baseball and softball have been a hit, tennis has made quite a racket, and track has run its course. But before the summer heats up, football is intercepting some of the headlines.

The 32d Shriners Football Classic, an all-star game featuring 99 of the best high school seniors in Eastern Massachusetts, will take place tonight (7 p.m.) for the first time at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

“This means a lot to us,’’ said game director Paul Costello, who has been involved with the Shriners since coaching in the first game in 1979. “The Kraft family and the Patriots have been super to us.’’

The annual game is played to raise funds for the Shriners Hospital for Children. Tonight’s proceeds will aid the Shriners transportation fund, which allows patients to receive treatment in Boston and throughout North America.

The South will be led by linemen Cam Colwell (Xaverian) and Andrew Tallman (BC High) and scoring machines Matt Campbell (Attleboro) and Ryan Izzo (Walpole). John Sousa, who retired from East Boston after the season, and Xaverian’s Charlie Stevenson are the coaches.

The North is anchored by standout running backs Conor Ressel (Gloucester) and Ryan Pollock (Reading), and BB&N’s duo of Andre Joseph and Derek Papagianopoulos. The team will be coached by Gloucester’s Paul Ingram and Don Heres of Northeast Regional.

“There are a lot of great players and it’s for a great cause,’’ said Ressel.

The game is another step in the budding relationship between the MIAA and the Krafts. The Coaches Association recently had a clinic and a combine at Gillette Stadium, and the EMass Super Bowls have been played there in recent years.

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