Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, 5 pm (EST), Estadio Mexicali, Mexicali, Mexico
Saturday's Contest: Saturday's game is the eighth Tazon de Estrellas, dating to the 2009 season. The 19th annual post-season game in Mexico for NCAA Division III stars will feature a 53-man Team Stars & Stripes roster selected from 22 D-III schools. In addition to installing their game plan during daily practice sessions at CETYS University, the team will conduct a service project with local youth and will enjoy a visit a water resort in Baja.
USA Head Coach Don DeWaard: DeWaard is a retired defensive coordinator for Central (Iowa) and is 3-1 as head coach of Team Stars & Stripes. The veteran of previous Tazón de Estrellas games and its predecessor the Aztec Bowl won on his head-coaching debut in 2012 as the Americans triumphed 32-15 at La Fortaleza Azul in Guadalajara and is 3-1 as the head coach of the American team.
Ohio Northern Representation:
Ohio Northern seniors Dan Eller (Medina) and Scott Rapps (Bay Village/Bay) will represent Ohio Northern and Team Stars & Stripes in the 2016 Tazon de Estrellas. Team Stars & Stripes consists of 53 NCAA Division III all-stars representing schools from all over the country and will face a team of Mexican collegiate all-stars from its premier CONADEIP league. The game will kickoff at 2 pm (5 pm EST) in the Estadio Mexicali (Mexicali Stadium) on the campus of CETYS Universidad. This is the eighth annual game under the current format. Eller and Rapps will bring the total to 18 Polar Bears who have participated in the game.
Eller is a two-time Second Team All-OAC honoree with 29 career starts at safety. This season, he was second on the team and was sixth in the OAC with 80 tackles. In 36 career games, Eller posted 242 tackles, which ranks him ninth all-time in ONU history.
Rapps was named Second Team All-North Region by D3football.com and is a two-time All-OAC honoree at defensive tackle. He earned First Team honors this fall and Honorable Mention All-OAC honors in 2015. He was also named Academic All-Conference this season. He led the team with 6.0 sacks and 12.5 TFL and was fourth with 51 tackles. Rapps played in 27 games and started 20 on the defensive line in his four years at Ohio Northern. He had 123 career tackles to go with 24 TFLs and 11.5 sacks.
Team Stars & Stripes owns a 4-3 series lead over Mexico, including a thrilling 15-14 victory last year in Tijuana. Stars & Stripes also won 29-7 in 2013 in Monterrey, 32-15 in 2012 in Guadalajara and 48-7 in 2010 in Toluca, while Mexico won 31-17 in 2014 and 45-27 in 2011 in Cholula and 24-12 in 2009 in Atizapan de Zaragoza.