It is an annual event of note throughout the state, and only select seniors are tapped each year to participate in the all-star showcase known as the DFRC Blue-Gold football game.
This year, Indian River’s Zach Schultz will represent the Indians.
For Schultz, who played defensive line this past season, just to have been selected was a great honor.
“It’s truly an honor, to be honest,” Schultz said. “It’s not just for me, but for the school and the state. This event is for a great cause, and it is a great opportunity to compete as well.”
The event is the 64th Annual Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens (DFRC) Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game, which will be played on Friday, June 21, at 7 p.m., at the University of Delaware’s Fred P. Rullo Stadium. Opening ceremonies will begin at 6 p.m.
The game showcases Hand-in-Hand buddies and Delaware’s finest high school students who participate as football players, cheerleaders, band members and school ambassadors.
DFRC is a Delaware foundation dedicated to raising funds and consciousness in support of programs that enrich the lives of Delawareans with intellectual disabilities. Established in 1956, the private, non-profit organization is dedicated to identifying and funding programs based on community need.
According to their website, “since 1956, DFRC has distributed over $6 million dollars into Delaware programs that benefit individuals with intellectual disABILITIES through its signature fundraising events — the annual Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game, Holidazzle, Blue-Gold All-Star Golf Classics, and our newest events, the Blue-Gold All-Star Run/Walk in Lewes and the DFRC Blue-Gold Sussex County Auction.
“These events provide opportunities to promote understanding of people with intellectual disabilities. Each year with the help of volunteers, high school student committees, community participants, individual contributors, and corporate sponsors, DFRC raises thousands of dollars to support programs that encourage individuals with intellectual disABILITIES to maximize their potential, independence, and enjoyment of life. DFRC is committed to transparency and has earned the Guide Star seal.”
For Schultz, it’s not just about playing in one last high school football game. The experience of partnering with his Buddy and participating in all the events leading up to the game are what make this experience so great for him.
“We have events each month leading up to the game,” he said. “The Buddy program starts at the end of this month. We will do bowling, a dance, and sometimes we get together and just play video games with our Buddy. I am really looking forward to it. Again — such an honor.”
As for the game, the Blue and Gold squads comprise senior players from across Delaware, featuring students of outstanding character who are also exceptional football players. The first Blue-Gold Game was played on Aug. 25, 1956. Today, there are nearly 50 public, private, parochial, vo-tech and charter schools across the state that are invited to be a part of this event. Collectively, the students are helping to spread DFRC’s message of diversity, acceptance and abilities throughout their schools and communities.
Dan Candeloro, who is the head coach at Caesar Rodney, will lead the Gold squad, while Matt Carre, the head coach at Thomas McKean High School, will coach the Blue squad.
Marvin Dooley, the head football coach at St. Elizabeth High School, will serve as camp director. Jody Russell, who is the head football coach at Newark High School, is serving as the DFRC Blue-Gold Athletic Committee chairperson for 2019.
Again, proceeds from the DFRC Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game are used to support programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout Delaware. The entire community is welcome and is being encouraged to attend. For more information, check out the DFRC website at www.dfrc.org or call the DFRC office at (302) 454-2730.
By Jason Feather