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The East team (made up of 14 players from Oakland County and coached by Walled Lake Western's Mike Zdebski) is seen here celebrating last month after defeating the West team 20-3 in the annual East-West All-Star Football Game. The MHSFCA announced Monday that it was getting rid of the intra-state all-star showdown and changing to a border war with the Buckeye State. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Dullack)

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FOOTBALL: MHSFCA enters into deal to have border battle with Ohio instead of East-West All-Star Game WITH VIDEO

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Hide the women and children away, soon it will be time for war.

A border war that is.

On Monday, the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association officially announced the traditional East-West All-Star Game will be replaced by the Ohio-Michigan Border Classic.

The inaugural inter-state super clash will take place next summer on June 14, 2014 at Donnell Stadium in Findlay, Ohio on the campus of Findlay University.

The East-West Game had been in existence since 1981.

Last month, the East (coached by Walled Lake Western’s Mike Zdebski and quarterbacked by South Lyon East field general and Western Michigan-signee Cam Thomas - one of 14 East players from Oakland County) topped the West, 20-3 at Grand Valley State's Lubbers Stadium. During the game and the week of workouts leading up to it, word began to circulate that the MHSFCA was considering cancelling the annual cross-state showdown and had started talking with its counterparts in Ohio to possibly replace it with a contest of their own.

The MHSFCA met over the weekend and voted in the new game. Details with the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association were finalized early Monday night.

“There’s a natural rivalry between our two states and we’re really hoping to capitalize on that for this game and make it something very special and unique,” MHSFCA All-Star Game Chairman Jim Sparks, a head coach locally at Clawson. “We want to increase our range of communications and visibility as a state and promote our kids as much as possible and this move allows us to do that.”

Ohio recently broke off a relationship with the state of Pennsylvania, bringing an end to a historic annual inter-state all-star battle that was known as “The Big 33,” because both rosters were made up of the best 33 players from each respective state’s prep gridiron ranks.

The Ohio-Michigan Border Classic will feature 40-man rosters.

Unlike the East-West Game, where players had to be nominated and there couldn’t be two players from the same prep squad picked to participate, the new affair hopes to attract the most elite players regardless of nomination or school.

“We want it to be our best versus their best and we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that happens,” Sparks said.

This year’s game took place June 22. Next summer’s date was intentionally shifted back a week to June 14 to allow BCS signees to play, unlike the past few East-West Games where many BCS players were unable to attend due to having to report to their college programs in the third week of the month.

Coaches for both states’ teams will be tapped in December. The roster for the Ohio squad will be announced on February 8 and Michigan’s team will be announced the following week on February 15.

Last Updated: 7/16/2013 1:31:12 AM EST


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