Travel Football: TCYFL standouts play during halftime of Chicago Rush game
Rosemont Saturday 6/16/12 Jack Ruskell during the Chicagoland Youth football all-star game at the Allstate Arena. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 26, 2012 7:02PM
With a few exceptions — Highland Park, Lake Forest, Deerfield, Beach Park, etc. — youth football teams in this corner of the state are associated with The Chicagoland Youth Football League (TCYFL).
Last weekend, that association resulted in dozens of young players experiencing the football-playing thrill of a lifetime.
They got to play a game at the same indoor arena in Rosemont where the Chicago Rush plays its home games in the Arena Football League.
Not only that, but after playing three quarters of a game in the afternoon, the youngsters played the fourth quarter at halftime of the Rush’s game against the Georgia Force, with the huge crowd on hand.
In between, the players enjoyed a Concussion Awareness Tailgate Party in a parking lot.
The TCYFL is huge — more than 32 communities from throughout the suburbs belong to it — and 36 youngsters of middle-school age were chosen to play in the second annual “all-star game.”
“We are honored to continue our great partnership with a first-class organization, such as the Chicago Rush. We are also very proud that they have gotten involved with a tremendous amount of support in our Concussion Initiative,” said Geoff Meyer, TCYFL president.
Former Chicago Bears Desmond Clark and Alex Brown served as honorary coaches for the all-star teams.
Selection of the youth all-stars focused not only on athletic talent, but also the dedication to the “One Team, One Family” slogan of the TCYFL.
The roster included Jack Ruskell and Wesley Klepac of the Libertyville Boys Club, Tony Baumgardt of the Mundelein Stallions, Lucas Wax of the Buffalo Grove Bills and Trey Hommer of the Vernon Hills Junior Cougars.
The all-stars practiced at the Rush’s indoor facility in Palatine three times to prepare for the game.
At those workouts, Rush players worked with the grade-school players and spoke on importance of football safety.
As for the “real” indoor football game, the Rush crushed the Georgia Force 62-27 in front of 6,202 fans.
The Rush is now 8-5 overall and still in contention to make the playoffs. The Rush has won all its home games but has scuffled on the road.