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
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.
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.