NEWARK — Mike Judy thought he had missed out on the Blue-Gold senior all-star football game forever.
The former Dover High lineman was an alternate in 1997 but the call never came.
Now in his first year as head coach at Smyrna High, Judy will be taking part in the Blue-Gold game after all.
Judy is part of the coaching staff for the Gold team and will be on the sideline Saturday as the 60th edition of the game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Delaware Stadium on the campus of the University of Delaware in Newark.
“For years I’ve been watching the game and never even thought I’d have the opportunity,” Judy said. “I thought that was something that was well and gone. To be able to do this is really eye-opening.”
Judy is one of Milford’s Mike Tkach’s assistants for the game along with Laurel’s Glenn Phillips Jr. and two of Tkach’s assistants at Milford: Carlon Brown, the former Dover High head coach, and Tim Fisher. Phillips is a former player in the Blue-Gold game who played in 1999 from Laurel and was the head coach of last year’s Gold squad.
Frank Moffett Jr. is similar to Judy. He never got to play in the game when he graduated from Caesar Rodney High in 1981.
But Moffett, Hodgson Vo-Tech Academy’s head coach, has been an assistant in the game twice and was a head coach in 2008. He will lead the Blue team on Saturday night for the second time.
Moffett was able to experience the game in 1993 when his brother David played in the game.
“That was my first exposure to this game and the buddy program,” Moffet said. “I’m always very humbled and honored to be a part of this.”
In 1997 Judy watched as three Dover teammates, Khary Darlington, Jeff Eanes and Randy Witham, were selected as representatives from the Senators.
“They were all well-deserving,” Judy said.
Now Judy is experiencing everything that comes with the Blue-Gold game, and he can share it with two of his Smyrna players, Alajuwon Hunter and Cody Biddle, who will both play linebacker for the Gold team.
One of the things the coaches enjoy the most is seeing their players interact with their buddies through the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with Intellectual disABILITIES (DFRC). Each athlete is paired with a special-needs kid for the game.
“The DFRC is phenomenal,” Judy said. “What they do for these young people is a great cause. This is something I would want to be a part of regardless of the football game. This is a great event for all the right reasons.”
Moffett knows as well as anyone that these memories the players make this week will stay with them for a long time.
“I tell them to savor the moment,” Moffett said. “They are the best kids to represent the teams. As far as coaching it, you’re coaching the best kids. All the kids catch on very quickly. These guys all make my job a lot easier.”