Team Stars & Stripes Visit Teotihuacan Pyramids

Team Stars & Stripes completed their final full practice at the Tec de Monterrey Campus Estado de Mexico before taking on the Tec Monterrey All-Stars in the 2009 Tazon de Estrellas on Saturday, December 19.

“It has been a great experience to have the opportunity to work with kids at this caliber,” said Offensive lineman coach Jim Lyall. “Not only are they physically talented but they are very emotionally motivated. They want to win and that is a great thing. Every time we come out to practice, the players are eager to learn.”

Following the practice on Thursday, the team drove an hour north of Mexico City to visit the Teotihuacan ruins. It was the sixth largest city in the world in 400 A.D., but then Teotihuacan was mysteriously abandoned 300 years later.  The Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest pyramid in the World.

“The pyramids were definitely my favorite part of the trip so far,” said defensive end Cory Lowe (Willamette University). “It was cool because you got to bond with your teammates and also see a historical monument in Mexico. We really got to know the culture.”

“They were awesome,” added defensive back Tim Machan (Washington University-St. Louis). “I’ve seen them in pictures and movies but it was a ton of fun to actually climb up there and see the view.”

Other players’ thoughts on the trip to the Teotihuacan ruins:

Defensive Tackle Mark Worrilow (Ursinus College)

“I thought the pyramids were an incredible experience. Just being exposed to something that is so significant culturally was something I wasn’t used to. It was exciting. I am a history buff, so I could have spent a whole day there. I thought it was the pinnacle of my trip experience wise.

Defensive Lineman Darryl Jackson (Kean University)

“The pyramids were pretty good. I actually thought I was in Egypt for a second. The climb to the top was interesting. I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I fought through and made it up there.

Sideline Guy: Welcome back to Salem

Welcome back to Salem, Virginia. I’ll be your online tour guide, Frank Rossi, the “Sideline Guy” for the third year for’s Stagg Bowl coverage. When last I left you last year, I told you of my experiences during my return flight immediately following Stagg Bowl XXXVI, as I flew with the Iona Men’s Basketball team on a snowy night back to New York. Ironically, on my way through JFK Airport Wednesday to head to this year’s game, I ran into the CW Post Men’s Basketball team on their way to the Desert Classic in Las Vegas, NV. While Vegas may be warm and exciting, it’s not where I want to be right now.

The field is green and clear... for now.  Things will change over the next 48 hours.
It’s great to be back in Salem — it’s sunny and bright with temperatures in the mid-40s. Those are the current condition of course — in less than 48 hours, that will likely all change. As of this writing, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Watch — the current forecast models show Salem being in the “bull’s eye” of weather, with 8 to 12 inches of snow likely from late Friday into Saturday. With temperatures likely to remain in the low- to mid-30s and some sort of precipitation almost a guarantee, weather will undoubtedly play some level of factor for all those involved.

For your broadcasters, it poses huge challenges. This year, we will be videocasting the pregame show for the first time ever from 9:00am EST until kickoff at 11:00am EST. We want everyone that can’t make it to Salem this year to see the fun we all have before even walking into the stadium, courtesy of Bridgewater’s “Stone Station” and the fine folks on the ground in Salem working on Carey Harveycutter’s crew. This year, that work on the ground may take a whole new meaning with the forecast, and we’ll keep you posted on exactly what precautions are taken should the storm pan out the way things look right now. As long as the snow stops by game time, the effects on the game will be minimalized, as the field is made up of high quality field turf. Stay tuned for more on that.

How is the forecast affecting the teams and their preparations? So far, it’s not. Pat Coleman and I attended the initial interview sessions earlier in the day, and neither Coach Kehres or Leipold indicated that the forecast is affecting their playbooks until the day of the event. The players are in good spirits, with Mount Union’s defense razzing last year’s defensive star, Drew McClain, for doing some quick pushups for a local television crew. Even Coach Kehres is looking like the Maytag repairman during his team’s practice, standing alone and waiting for something to break (haven’t seen anything in need of repair yet).

One thing is for sure this week: no matter how many times these teams have appeared in this game and no matter what the weather may bring, everyone is appreciative to be here, be it the players, the coaches, the broadcasters or the fans. It’s something nobody takes for granted, regardless of the outside elements that may affect the game itself. Stagg Bowl week isn’t just a game — it’s a three-day event full of memories. Tonight, it’s Gagliardi Trophy night — more from that event later. Until then, I’m curious about your initial thoughts about this year’s game.


The Tazon de Estrellas clash between Team Stars & Stripes and the Tec Monterrey All-Stars will air live via a webcast on at 1pm U.S. Eastern Time on Saturday, December 19.

A Spanish-language broadcast will be available from the Tec de Monterrey Campus Estado de Mexico through technology developed and made available by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based YouCastr and will provide all the action to a Global American football audience for a viewing fee of $5. Fans can access the game through the home page of

Coach Bill Manlove and quarterback Mike Isgro sat down with John O’Kane of the Press of Atlantic City Newspapers. Here is what Coach Manlove and Isgro had to say.

Coach Manlove was very complementary towards Mike Isgro who he played his four year career at Delaware Valley College — a team that  Coach Manlove is part of the coaching staff.

‘We had a list of guys we were looking at, and Mike Isgro was one of those that we were interested in and so he is one of the three quarterbacks we selected for this game.

Just look at his record, I think is the number one thing that makes him deserving to be on this team. His four year career at Del Val was phenomenal. His record alone is worth a lot as far as the coaching staff is concerned.

Isgro is a fantastic competitor and that is his best attribute. He does not know the word quit. He just keeps at it and has a great attitude which is just tremendous. He is an excellent leader.

He has a very strong arm and he has great feet. I think his feet make him a better quarterback, because he gets out of trouble so often.

It is a great honor for Mike to be selected for the Tazon de Estrellas and we are very pleased that he is here.

All the players are putting in work. We just finished three days of two-a-days. And now we will go down to one on Thursday and a walk through on Friday. It has been work on the field and fun off.

 I expect Mike to give the best he has got come Saturday, and we just hope the pieces fall in place and Team Stars & Stripes comes out with a win.’

Here is what quarterback Mike Isgro had to say about the experience in Mexico so far.

 ‘It is awesome to be here in Mexico. It is an honor to be able to get invited and have people feel you have accomplished enough to be down here and just to be down here with all these guys. They are a great group of guys. We are all working hard and have the same goal. We want to win the game. We have a slogan ‘Living the Dream’, so that is what we are trying to do.

It’s been an honor. A lot of credit goes back home to my coaches, parents, and my teammates. Without them I would not have been able to accomplish anything. 

We got the itinerary before we got down here, so I knew we would have to do two-a-days. We expected it, because we had to install a new offense with 52 guys that did not know each other prior to coming here. We go hard when we have to — it has been going well.

We are going hard. We expect Mexico to go hard on Saturday, so we are going to go even harder.

I am enjoying being down here. But I am also a competitor, so we all want to get our time. I’m going to go with whatever happens, and hopefully I get an opportunity to play a little bit. The most important thing is we come off with a win.

This has been an experience, and this is my first time out of the country. It has been a good experience so far and it will be an even better one after Saturday when we get a win.

 On Saturday, we are all going to play to win. Play every snap like it’s my last one.