In just two weeks, Martell Webb will take the practice field in Ann Arbor and officially put on a Maize & Blue jersey for the first time. Saturday, the Pontiac Northern product was one of three Wolverine commits playing in the MHSFCA All-Star game, joining Whitehall DE Ryan Van Bergen and James Rogers, representing Madison Heights Lamphere.
“I’ve been working out, getting ready for the season,” Webb said after the game. “We have to come back and start practice on August 5th.”
Webb, who wore #6 during the game, showed that Saturday's exhibition was far from meaningless as he walked to the sideline in frustration after a final drive failed to reach the end zone causing his East squad to fall, 9-7.
The East grabbed the lead and held it for most of the day, after Detroit King QB Jarell Noland punched in an early TD to make the score 7-3. Late in the 4th quarter, Battle Creek Harper Creek TE Rocky Weaver caught a TD pass that put the West up 9-7. After a missed extra point, Webb and company had a chance for a game winning drive. Facing a key 4th down late in the drive, Noland fired a pass into coverage. Webb reached out just beyond the defender to snare the pass, break a tackle, and rumble 20 yards to put his team in field goal position. The field goal was missed, however, and the West had a chance to run out the clock.
Ironically, Jerome Bettis once played in this game and a Bettis moment… his late fumble in the 4th quarter of an AFC playoff game… played out in Saturday's contest. Van Bergen (#97), who had been lining up as a blocking fullback in short yardage situations, got his first carry of the day. The ball was subsequently stripped and the East recovered deep in West territory.
“I don’t think I’ll be playing any fullback [at Michigan],” Van Bergen said smiling. “I was trying to get to the first down, I got there…I just didn’t have the ball with me.”
But just as Bettis and the Steelers dodged the bullet, so too did Van Bergen and the underdog West squad. The East went four and out, ending an exciting game and stellar high school careers for all three future Wolverines.
Rogers (#33), playing cornerback for the East (a position he will also play in college), returned kicks and recorded a pass breakup as well as three tackles. Van Bergen forced a fumble and had four tackles. Webb, meanwhile, grabbed three passes for 45 yards. After the game, the trio posed for pictures together and talked about their futures. Van Bergen, not fazed by his mishap, still reveled in his last chance to be on the opposition to his future teammates.
“I talk a lot, don’t I?” he said to Webb. “I know you didn’t expect that.”
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for a photo gallery and video highlights and interviews featuring the future Wolverines in action.