8-Man Division II East All Stars over West 50-12 / Win for East Coach Don Melby caps 40 year coaching career
BELOIT – Saturday’s 8-Man All Star afternoon session game in Beloit pitted the Division II East versus West with a similar result to the earlier game of the day. It was a very different game in term of how it played out and why compared to the Division I contest, but with a similar looking result on the scoreboard when the dust settled.
The West All-Stars took a 6-0 lead in the early going of a competitive matchup.
The East squad responded to an early turnover, which was quickly converted to six points by the West team on a short field, by putting up 50 straight unanswered points of their own en route to a 50-12 victory.
The East squad had the game’s opening possession and were quickly met with adversity. Dighton’s Isaac Torson recovered a fumble for the West at the East 15-yard line, the West offense took advantage in just just two plays, finding the end zone and establishing an early 6-0 advantage. The scoring play was a 14-yard touchdown run by Jacob Salmans of Hodgeman County. The East team, with Central Christian’s Nate Heneha at quarterback, later scored on a six-yard TD run to knot things up just past the midway point of the first quarter.
There had been one lead change and one tie between the teams by the end of the 6-6 opening period. There would be just one more lead change yet to come. The East started to click in the second stanza and proceeded to run away with the game by running the West squad into the ground.
With 5:34 remaining in the opening half, Pike Valley four year starting quarterback Devonte’ Hammer connected with Hanover’s Kevin Diederich with an impressive 21-yard touchdown pass that was on a rope and on the money. Despite standing firm in the pocket and taking a big hit on as the play as the pass left his fingertips, Hammer added a two-point run to give the East a 14-6 lead. They continued to roll up the points offensively even though, as it turns out, the 14 would have been enough.
The West was forced to punt on their next possession. Then the East cashed in again with 3:46 to play in the half on a 12-yard TD pass from Hammer to St. John’s/Tipton’s Ty Brummer. Heneha scored on a two-point run as the lead for the East swelled to 16 points at 22-6.
The West had to punt, yet again, on their next drive opening the door for the East squad to tack on another score before halftime. With 65 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Heneha rattled off his second rushing touchdown of the game. Again, from six yards out. The two-point conversion failed and set the halftime score with the East squad in control at 28-6.
The West team came out with a renewed sense of purpose in the third quarter. They were driving on their first possession of second half, but the promising drive was broken-up by an interception from Pleasanton’s Tayler George.
The East took over at their own 25-yard line and trekked 55 yards in eight plays. The drive was finished off with third touchdown pass for Hammer. This one to Brennan Zabokrtsky of Hanover from a 5-yards out. Another failed PAT kept it a 34-6 game heading into the final 12 minutes of the game.
Heneha kept the points coming for the East as he connected on his first touchdown pass of the day to Wakefield’s Shane Jackson for 26 yards. Hammer added a two-point conversion on the ground stretch the East’s lead to 42-6 lead with 9:10 left to play.
After another West squad punt forced by the East defense. They took over on the West 34 and covered those 34 yards in four plays/ Heneha’s third TD run of the game finished off the scoring drive on dash of 17 yards. He previously had scoring on runs of 28 and 33 yards called back due to holding penalties. Heneha then hit Brummer for the two-point conversion to give the East their biggest lead of the game at 50-6 with 4:46 remaining.
On their final drive of the game, the West finally found the end zone for a second time. The 65-yard, nine play drive ended with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Salmans to his Hodgeman County teammate Trevor Morgan. The PAT run failed and the score was 50-12 with 41 seconds remaining for the East. After taking two knees out of the victory formation to kill the clock, the 50-12 total went final.
The win for the East All Stars made it two consecutive years of the East teams sweeping the west teams on 8-Man All Star Saturday. The Division II East camp extended their all-time series lead over the West to 11 wins versus seven losses.
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