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Packer players help raise funds for grad party

Elementary art teacher Jason Rohde tried to work the ball up the court while being defended by James Jones, Packer wide receiver. Referee Lindsay Bruder watches.

The local Blue Thunder was out dunked, dribbled and defended by the Green Bay Packers' traveling charity basketball team, the Green Machine.

And that was before the kids were subbed into the game.

The Green Machine faced off against the Blue Thunder for the second straight year as a fundraiser for the St. Croix Central Senior All-Night Party.

The Green Machine won soundly, 114-49. The Blue Thunder was outscored twice. They went into halftime down by at least 20 points. At the start of the second half, the scores were flipped, so the Green Machine needed to overcome the large deficit, which they did.

Near the end of the first half, Thunder coach Steve Miller stopped the game to call in help from the crowd. A swarm of kids took to the court to play against the Packers. Another group of kids was called to the court again during the second half.

All the Packer players signed autographs during halftime for a small fee. The three lines stretched nearly the length of the court. Most fans were able to make it through at least two of the lines before the 30-minute session ended.

Even though the crowd was smaller than the previous year, a committee member said they broke even on ticket sales. Additional funds from autographs, T-shirt sales, concessions and a bean bag toss had not been totaled as of Saturday night.

Representing the Packers on the Green Machine were Mason Crosby, kicker; James Jones, wide receiver; Jermichael Finley, tight end; Allen Barbre, guard/tackle; Ruvell Martin, wide receiver; Jake Allen, wide receiver; and Spencer Havner, linebacker.

The Blue Thunder was composed of school faculty, alumni and community members. Miller took on the head coach role.

Players included Glen Webb, Steve Sanders, Zach Turpin, Luke Fritsche, Jason Rohde, Rob Nourse, Glen Rasmussen, Gary Poulin, Jeff Olson, Matt Herink, John Hawkins and Mike Thomley.