Local middle-schooler leads team at All-Star football game

Drake Madison holds up a trophy after leading his team in a 30-0 shutout at the All-Star football game in Eugene on June 30

Drake Madison holds up a trophy after leading his team in a 30-0 shutout at the All-Star football game in Eugene on June 30

EUGENE — The All-Star Football Games is a program that takes the best middle schoolers in the state and brings them together in Eugene for a weekend of football games.

Drake Madison, who just graduated from Perrydale School, was one of those middle schoolers.

He’s 14 but looks 16, and led his eighth-grade team on Saturday, June 30, to a 30-0 shutout, something he wasn’t expecting to happen.

“I had the feeling that we might win but I didn’t think it was gonna be a complete shutout,” Madison said, “and that was pretty cool. All that work we had done to get ready for that, and then we win by that much, it’s awesome.”

Madison has been playing football since sixth grade, and just finished up playing for Perrydale School as running back and middle linebacker.

“He had a lot of action leading his Perrydale team — they were six and one,” Katie Muncrief, Madison’s mom, said. “He really thrives when it’s the positions that get the action, so it’s really fun for him.”

All kids who participated in the football games were kids who had been nominated by their coaches, and when Madison was selected for the All-Star game, he couldn’t believe it.

“I was really excited,” he said. “My coach had come up to me and told me that he was thinking about nominating me, but he didn’t know yet. When he told me that he did nominate me, I was pretty excited.”

Around 250 sixth- seventh- and eighth-graders participated in the All-Star Football games. This was the first year the All-Star Games came to Oregon; for the last 14 years, it’s been hosted in Idaho.

Wednesday, June 27 through June 29, the kids stayed in the dorms at University of Oregon. June 30, the three-game series was played at Sheldon High School. Teams were based on age groups, and then divided into two teams per age group: the red team and the white team.

While this All-Star Game was a chance to showcase the best middle-schoolers in Oregon, it was also a chance to bring awareness to the Foster Care System in the United States.

Recently, this football program partnered up with the Department of Human Services Child Welfare Program, Every Child and Oregon Foster Youth Connection, and each player who participated in the games was required to raise a certain amount of money to go toward the games’ partnerships.

Madison raised $575 through different business sponsorships that he received.

Speakers came throughout the week to talk to the students about the 450,000 kids who are currently in foster care.

“So this whole thing was for raising money for the Oregon foster program,” Madison said. “So the speakers were people who were either in the foster care system or had been in it, and they just told us about their experience.”

Those who came to watch the football games were encouraged to bring an empty backpack for a foster kid; according to Muncrief, the program receiver over 1,000 backpacks that they will fill with school supplies and other necessities foster care children don’t have access to.

Madison came away from that weekend with an experience he’s never had before.

“It was really fun; there were a lot of new people I was able to meet,” he said. “It was just an experience for all of us that we’ve never really had before.”

In the fall, Madison will start his freshman year at Central Linn High School. He plans to try out for track and field in the spring, and continue playing football and basketball.

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