Division II All-Stars come back for 28-20 OT win

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The 8-Man DII West All-Stars scored their final touchdown of Saturday’s All-Star Game in Beloit with 1:29 remaining to take a 20-14 lead over the East.   That 1:29 that they left the East was too much time in the end, as the East would score with 22 seconds in regulation and go on to score in overtime for a 28-20 win at Trojan Field.

The West got on the board first, as just 63 seconds into the game, Dighton’s Dylan Foos picked off a Will Bruna pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown.   Wallace County’s Levi Johnson added a 2-point run to give the West an 8-0 lead.

After the next East possession ended in a turnover on downs and the West had to punt on their first drive, the East went on a 15-play, 64-yard drive that ended in a 3-yard TD run by Hanover’s Bruna.   Davis Dubbert from St. John’s/Tipton caught a pass from Bruna on the two-pointer to tie the game at 8 with 1:21 left in the first.

The game stayed tied at 8 into the 2nd quarter.   The West had a turnover on downs, then on the next possession, Bruna threw his second interception of the day, as Pretty Prairie’s Denton Webster picked off a pass in the end zone.   Starting their next possession at their own 15-yard line, the West went 65 yards in nine plays and scored on a 23-yard TD pass from Colton Schmidt of Ingalls to Foos.   The 2-point run failed and the West took a 14-8 lead with 6:29 to play in the 1st half.

The West held the 14-8 lead until the fourth quarter.   On their first six possessions of the 2nd half, the West was unable to get anything going offensively, running just 21 plays combined on those drives.   Four of the possessions ended with turnovers.   However, the East was unable to take full advantage of the West’s mistakes.

Danen Kistner of Hartford recovered a fumble for the East on the West’s first 2nd half drive at the West 37.   That drive ended with a turnover on downs.   On the West’s third drive of the 2nd half, Drew Ott of Lebo intercepted a pass at the West 16-yard line.   That drive also ended with a turnover on downs, early in the 4th quarter, as a pass intended for Waverly’s Peyton Mitchell was incomplete in the end zone.

On the next possession for the West, Dubbert recovered a fumble at the West’s 15-yard line, and finally the East was able to capitalize.   Bruna ran in his second TD of the day, again from three yards out.   The run failed on the 2-point attempt, and with 9:20 left in the 4th, the East tied the game at 14.

The West would fumble again on their next possession and it was recovered by Linn’s Kalen Richardson for the East, but they couldn’t take advantage.   Despite starting the possession at the West 10, they turned the ball over downs again.

Each team then exchanged punts on their next drive.   The West started their next possession at the East 28 yard line.   It took eight plays, but on a 3rd and Goal play from the 8-yard line, Dighton’s Tyler Lingg hit his fellow Hornet teammate Foos for a touchdown to give the West a 20-14 lead with 1:29 to play.

However, the East would respond fast, as they went 58 yards in seven plays, taking only 1:07 off the clock.   The drive included a 16-yard pass to Dubbert on a 4th-down conversion and ended with a 4-yard TD run by Bruna.   The pass failed, and the game was tied at 20.

The West had one more possession, but after running just one play from their own 8-yard line, they opted to let the game go to overtime.

In what was the first overtime game since the first ever 8-Man All-Star Game in 1986, the West won the toss and opted to defend to start the extra frame.   The East needed just two plays to take their first lead of the game, as Bruna ran in his fourth TD of the day, this time from two yards out.   Caldwell’s Dilyn Volavka caught the 2-point pass from Bruna to give the East a 28-20 advantage.

The West had one more shot with their overtime possession, but on the second play, they would fumble again.   Richardson of Linn got his second fumble recovery of the game to seal the win for the East.

With the victory, the East holds an all-time series lead of 11-6 over the West in the DII All-Star Game.

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