Gridiron prospects meet in Blue & Gold Games

MARC GUZZI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

The selection process for Team Manitoba kicks off today.

The annual Blue and Gold Games are being played today at Canad Inns Stadium. Football Manitoba, in association with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club, will display the province's best 15 to 18-year-old football players.

The Junior Varsity Game, which is the top 15 and 16-year-olds in the province, starts at 10:00 A.M. The Varsity Game, 17 and 18-year-olds, will kick off at 1:00 P.M.

"The Blue and Gold Games are basically a lead-in, a part of our provincial team process," said Football Manitoba Executive Director Rob Berkowits.

Each team's roster will consist of approximately 50 players, or 100 players per age group. Players will then be selected, based on their performance, for Manitoba's under 17 and under 19 Provincial teams.

"The coaches will identify the players, which will be selected down, to 36 players each," Berkowits said.

The games give the opportunity to young players to showcase themselves, and demonstrate their ability to play among top talent. The players chosen for the provincial teams will compete in the 2008 Football Canada Cup in Sherbrooke, Quebec, July 5-13.

A player to keep an eye on today is quarterback Ryan Marsch. The Sturgeon Heights Husky will be suiting up for the under-19 Team Gold. Another name to watch for is Adam Mazowita, a defensive back from the Churchill Bulldogs, who will be playing for under-19 Team Blue.

Alumni of the Blue & Gold Games include Israel Idonije, who plays defensive end for the NFL's Chicago Bears. Blue Bombers Matt Sheridan and Riley Clayton took part in the annual event. 2007 CFL first overall draft pick, Chris Baumann, who plays for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played for Team Manitoba from 2001 to 2003.

The annual event has been around for more than 20 years.

"An old guy like me played in it, so it's been around a while," said Berkowitz.

Tickets are available for $2.00 at Gate 3.

FLAG FOOTBALL: Flag Football Days are underway this weekend at Canad Inns Stadium. 136 teams and 1400 athletes will be taking part in the games today and tomorrow.

Football Manitoba and the NFL/CFL Flag Football Program's 2008 Season will begin at 4:00 P.M. today, and run until 8:00 P.M. Tomorrow, games will be played from 9:00 A.M. to 7 P.M.

The flag football league is for boys and girls aged 7-17. The games are open to the public at no charge.

A complete schedule of the games can be found on Football Manitoba's website, www.footballmanitoba.com.


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