All-star game honors Stump Martin Friday

EAST RIDGE, Tenn. (WDEF) — For close to 20 years, football stars from around the Chattanooga and North Georgia area come to East Ridge, trading in their high school colors for an all-star team jersey.

It’s a badge of honor for the seniors chosen to play, but this year, the honor goes to the late Stump Martin.

The late Stump Martin helped establish the Tennesse-Georgia All-Star game… This year, it’s been renamed to the Stump Martin Memorial Senior Showcase, as local coaches try to keep his memory alive.

“Stump’s been amazing,” said Coach Lebron Williams of East Ridge High. “I mean, ever since I was in school and before that, he’s been around and helping local athletes in the area.”

In many ways, the game will showcase Stump’s legacy in the Chattanooga area.

“Football’s a great game, and he always believed that it just brought kids together. And this week has kind of shown that. We’ve got kids from everywhere. You know in a few days time, they don’t know each other and now they’re having a great time. And learning how to be teammates with someone in four days is kind of special,” said Coach Joshua Payne of Signal Mountain High.

The game will also highlight some of the area’s top athletes.

“Get to come out and compete with the best of the best around. And I’m just proud that they picked me out of everybody. They could’ve picked anyone really,” Meigs County’s Jawan Martin said.

During the fall, many of these players are opponents. But on Friday night, they’re teammates.

“Throughout practice you know we all build up somewhat of a bond so we all got some kind of camaraderie as a whole,” Ridgeland’s Derayl Helton said.

And that’s the goal.

“That’s what Stump was about. He was about promoting kids, taking care of kids. He would give you the shirt off his back so we want to make sure we have a good sportsmanlike game out here, and everyone has fun, and we put on a good show for the crowd,” East Ridge Head Coach Tim James said.

The game is scheduled for Friday night at 7:30 on the East Ridge High School field. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. The proceeds will go to Stump Martin’s family.

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