“A Force to be reckoned with”
Two North Bergen students selected to play all-star football game in Texas

by Art Schwartz – Hudson Reporter February 2, 2014

Two North Bergen students were chosen to participate in a prestigious national football game in Dallas that was played in January. Seventh graders Ethan Govea and Michael Santini participated in a week of activities including training, networking and a visit to the Cotton Bowl, culminating in their playing on the winning team at the Junior Academic All American Bowl.

It all began many months earlier.

“I was just playing a game and afterward some guy came on the field and it was Marvin, and the head coach called us on the field and he congratulated us and told us we were chosen to participate in the game in Philly,” explained Michael.

IV Star Showcase

“Marvin” is Marvin Chambers, CEO of IV Star Showcase, a regional East Coast operation. “We’re a recruiting agency and we provide a service for getting these kids recruited through our games.”

IV Star Showcase is designed to promote outstanding young football players with strong academic credentials through a series of exhibition games. Participants are nominated by parents, teachers, coaches, or other interested parties, and demonstration videotapes must be submitted.

“Our process is very meticulous. Last year there were 200 kids selected out of 5,000 nominations,” said Chambers. Based on the information submitted, IV Star Showcase recruiters travel to schools up and down the East Coast to evaluate the nominees.

Chambers recalled the first time he saw Ethan and Michael.

“They’re very special kids and they play very hard.” – Marvin Chambers
“In the league they play in, one of my commissioners told me you need to check out North Bergen, they got a couple of kids. And I couldn’t keep my eyes off of them. Certain kids when you see them they stand out. These kids were a force to be reckoned with.”

“Michael is a linebacker, a fullback,” Chambers said. “Govea, he played center some games, some games end or tackle. What I liked is they’re very coachable, flexible. You could see the passion and the sportsmanship. You don’t see at that age kids who are able to move around for the team. They’re very special kids and they play very hard.”

Based on what he saw, Chambers made an offer for the two to come play the IV Star Showcase in Pennsylvania.

“There’s a lot of people there checking out their talent,” he said. “Our main goal is to get them to the next level. Academics come first, we teach that all the time. We also want these guys to develop kinship, bonding, because hopefully they’ll be playing together on a collegiate level.”

Both Michael and Ethan performed well at the games—well enough that they were scouted by national all-star recruiters.

“There was an evaluation by Bret Cooper and his executive committee,” Chambers said.

From that game, 12 kids were chosen to participate in the Junior Academic All American Bowl.

“About two weeks after I got back from the first all-star games, my dad showed me the e-mail from Bret and I got really excited,” remembered Ethan.

Junior Academic All American Bowl

Bret Cooper started the Junior Academic All American Bowl four years ago, after running a similar program in Arizona. The program is intended to highlight the best student athletes from across the country.

“We created it to give a new way of recognizing them on the football field,” said Cooper. “In order to get recognized for college and recruited, they look at you academically and your character first. To be selected for the Junior Academic All American Bowl you need to have a 3.0 GPA.”

“We’re seen as kind of a filter,” he continued. “Colleges want to know if the kids are coachable. That’s the kind of kids the colleges want. They look at these kids as early recruits. And kids are getting recognized. Last year we had 28 players that were offered scholarships in eighth and ninth grade.”

The program, held annually in Texas, consists of an intensive week of training, practice, drills… and fun.

“This year we had the Cotton Bowl teamed up with us,” said Cooper. “That was an experience for the kids—not only to attend the bowl, but to attend as an All-American. They had jerseys on, they attended pre-game events, they held trophies for photos.”

And then there was the game itself.

“They competed against top players from all over the country and Canada. One hundred and fifteen kids participated this year.”

As for Ethan and Michael, “Both were on the winning team, so they had a good time,” Cooper said.

Life experience

“The games themselves are great opportunities to show what you can do,” said Ethan of the experience. “I learned how different coaches coach, different styles of playing, new ways of playing, how to get better, how to work hard with everything, not just football.”

“Everything is possible,” said Michael. “You have to work really hard to get to the next level.

Just keep on training and get ready for the next football season and do well in school. School comes first.”

“My whole family’s been involved with football,” he added, “and I just want to carry on the legacy.”

“One of the reasons we moved back from Bergen County,” said Michael’s mother, Jennifer Santini, “was so my son could continue playing for Hudson County. My dad [legendary local coach Vincent Ascolese] coached here for a long time, like 39 years. He just retired a few years ago. My son always wanted to play for North Bergen.”

“I mostly did it for my grandpa,” said Michael.

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Article Courtesy of National Prep and Youth Football Association
This past weekend the National Prep & Youth Football Association (N.P.F.A.) was at the IV Star Showcase in Plymouth Whitemarsh, PA looking for the next group of ALL AMERICANS to make the 2014 RISING FRESHMEN ALL AMERICAN GAME & YOUTH 100 ALL AMERICAN GAME and we weren’t let down! 3 games took place for grades 6th, 7th, & 8th ina East vs West format. Both rosters were flooded with the NPFA All Americans, TOP 100 players, and other who’s who in youth football!!

Notably, the 6th grade game featured highly touted gun slinger & QB Coach Krueger prodigy DARON BRYDEN from CT, NPFA TOP 100 player TEAGAN WILK of Shamokin, PA, & punishing runner ELIJAH FORD from CT representing the East. Not to be outdone, the West was boasted NPFA All Americans WR/ DB KAI FERRELL from Baltimore, MD & gigantic lineman TERRELL STATON from King George, VA. BRYDEN lived up to the billing, constantly attacking the defense by moving his team down field with precision passes and poise that of someone far his senior. BRYDEN proved that he was the real deal, but the West Team’s DBs were out to prove that there All American billing wasn’t just hype as well . Led by safties FERRELL & speedster TY LIVERS, the West managed to Pick BRYDEN off 4 times. FERRELL , who also had a forced fumble, set the tone early with a INTERCEPTION on the 2nd play of the game off of a tipped pass. Shutdown corner KAMERON WYATT followed up with 2 big picks that changed the momentum by halting the East’s drives. The West struggle offensively early on, but were sparked by the shifty running of New Jersey RB/ LB ELIJAH GRAY. GRAY, who also looked like a “mini-Ray Lewis” on the defensive side of the ball, embodied an elusive running style that brought the West to life and was capped off by a 35 yard TD run from PA speedster TY LIVERS. LIVERS, who is the younger brother of Villanova Star WR Poppy Livers, wouldn’t be denied and would earn the MVP running for a total of 3 TD’s on the day behind the big ALL AMERICAN STATON & LUIS “MOOSE” LOWERY. The West would finish the game with a 20-0.

The 7th grade game would be spearheaded by another Krueger product and NPFA ALL AMERICAN SHANE STEINLAUF who threw the East’s only TD pass in regulation, but it was Harrisburg, PA LB AUSTIN FLEEGAL who earn the MVP with his great defensive performance. The East would pull this one out in a tight game that would eventually go into OT with a 16-14 win for the East.

In the late game, there was no suprise that the NPFA National #1 ranked 8th grader LEDDIE BROWN left no doubt in the minds of those that saw him by leading his team to victory with a 3 TD game & MVP performance to go along with his Overall MVP award received the night before for having a fantastic season. BROWN wasn’t the only star of the game as we got to witness the massive 6’5” 350lb 7th grade AUSTIN REDMUN from Litchfield, ME. You better believe we will be seeing some of these guys playin on Saturdays in the near future!

Link to the Original Article

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The following letter was received only hours after The IV Star Showcase had ended. This letter is why IV Star does, what it does. We have removed references to the coaches identity and school. I believe the letter speaks for itself.

Subject: 8th Grade Prospects

Message: My name is Coach _________, I am the assistant HC at ________ NJ. I’ve been referred to you by a well respected coach, who told me you had tremendous talent in your all star game. I wanted to reach out on behalf of our school. We are a highly ranked academic prep school in the country and our team is loaded with Div 1 prospects. We are constantly looking for young talent and we would love to talk with you further in regards to any potential prospects. My phone number is _______. I am really looking forward to speaking with you guys.

This school went on the offer 6 Scholarships to student athletes who played in THE IV STAR SHOWCASE ALL STAR GAME!