The annual North-South football all-star game will have a new home this year. The contest will also have a Super Bowl MVP’s name attached to it.
The Phil Simms North-South All-Star Classic will be played June 23 at Piscataway High School’s Ciardi Field. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
The 36th annual game has been played for the past four years at Kean University, but the facility won’t be available this year because it’s being renovated.
Simms, a 14-year NFL quarterback for the Giants — and MVP of Super Bowl XXI — was in Piscataway on Sunday to help promote the game along with coaches and players chosen for the game.
Simms recalled playing in an all-star game at Louisville University’s Fairgrounds Stadium after his senior year in 1974 at Southern High School.
“I remember we won and that I threw all of two passes,” Simms said.
It didn’t take long for him to agree to join the New Jersey game after receiving a call from longtime game director and Caldwell coach Ken Trimmer.
“I told him I’d love to do it,” Simms said. “The main reason of doing it was to help the game, help the kids and all the New Jersey high school coaches that I’ve met over the last 36 years. They’ve all been great to me. We have had unbelievable relationships. I have thrown or worked with 100 different different coaches and their quarterbacks and receivers up here over the years, I still know many of them and that’s why I did it.”
Simms said he has been to many of the games. He knows about the number of summer games that have sprouted since 1979 when the North-South game began.
“I absolutely believe this is the game New Jersey players will want to be part of, absolutely,” Simms said.
The teams’ first practice will be June 20 at Cranford High. The second will be June 21 at the Giants’ training center in East Rutherford. The teams will then have a Sunday practice on June 22 at the Jets facility in Florham Park, followed by a dinner.
Several Greater Middlesex Conference and Mid-State 38 players were chosen. South Brunswick’s Nick Mecca, John F. Kennedy’s Anthony Roberts, Sayreville’s Deion Miller, Old Bridge’s Chris Weber, J.P. Stevens’ Chiebuka Chukwuneke and Piscataway’s Dajon Foat. Pingry’s Evan Key, Watchung Hills’ Tom Loeffler and Westfield’s Joe Scaglione will represent the Mid-State 38.
“It’s a lot of fun. Senior year, it’s something special,” said the Dartmouth-bound Key, the first Pingry player to be chosen since placekicker Casey Hannon played in the 1996 game.