After a slow offensive start on Saturday afternoon in Beloit, the West overcame four turnovers with a record-breaking scoop and score and a big stand and fourth down conversion late in the game for a 28-22 win over the East in the DI All-Star Game.
The game started with a combined three punts and two turnovers on downs before the East broke the seal on the scoreboard, taking a 6-0 lead on a 20-yard TD run by South Sumner QB Keiondre Smith.
On the next possession for the West, Dustin Montgomery of West Elk thwarted a drive with an interception returned to the West 23. As the first quarter ended, the East was unable to take advantage of the takeaway, as the West forced a turnover on downs with the East up 6-0 early in the second.
The West responded on offense with their only score of the first half, going 60 yards in eight plays, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Wichita County QB Ehrik Hermosillo to tie the game at 6.
That would be the halftime score as the East had a chance to score, but Burlingame’s Matthew Heckman came up just short on an attempt to catch a fourth down pass for a score. He quickly made up for it with an interception of his own to thwart the only other scoring opportunity for the West.
The East got the ball to start the second half and quickly took the lead back. A five-play, 53-yard drive culminated with a one-yard touchdown run by Madison’s Bryson Turner. Turner added the two-point conversion run to put the East up 14-6 with 9:56 left in the third.
The East had the momentum in a big way after Little River’s Braxton Lafferty recovered a West fumble two plays into the next drive. However, on the fourth play of the next East drive, Trego’s Owen Day forced a fumble by Smith which was returned 57 yards for a touchdown by Sublette’s Miguel Hernandez, setting a record for the longest fumble recovery for a score in 8-Man All-Star Game history. Hermosillo added a two-point run to tie the game at 14.
The next two drives ended in turnovers for each team as Hernandez added his second takeaway with an interception at the one-yard line on a halfback pass attempt by Turner. Just over two minutes later, Heckman came up with his second interception of the game for the East.
Tied at 14 going into the final quarter, the West scored first on a 4-yard TD run by Hill City’s Kaleb Atkins. Hermosillo scored on the two-point run to put the West up 22-14.
The East wasted no time responding as Smith hit Peyton Rush of Oxford on two straight pass plays, one for 43 yards, with an 11-yard TD pass that followed. Little River’s Grant Stephens caught a pass from Turner for the two-pointer to tie the game at 22 with 9:32 remaining.
After a West punt, the East had another chance, but the West forced a turnover on downs in just four plays. Four plays later on offense, the West took a 28-22 lead on a 13-yard touchdown scamper by Hermosillo.
The West got another huge stop, forcing a turnover on downs in four plays yet again, taking over with just 3:03 remaining. Atkins ran for 29 yards on a 4th & 3 play with 1:01 remaining to put the win on ice for the West.
The West finished with 317 yards of total offense. Hermosillo completed 12 of 18 passes for 176 yards. Atkins combined for 143 yards of offense with 90 rushing and 53 receiving. Smith was the undoubted leader for the East offense that racked up 351 total yards. The South Sumner QB from Caldwell threw for 166 yards and a TD on 7-17 passing and also ran for another touchdown with 139 yards on 25 carries. Rush was the leading receiver in the game with four catches for 96 yards and the score.
The West snapped a short two-game skid in the DI All-Star Game series, advancing their overall lead to 12-10 since 2001.
1st, East: Smith 20 run (run failed), 8:27 (6-0 East)
2nd, West: Hermosillo 2 run (run failed), 7:25 (6-6 Tie)
3rd, East: Turner 1 run (Turner run), 9:56 (14-6 East)
3rd, West: Hernandez 57 fumble return (Hermosillo run), 7:37 (14-14 Tie)
4th, West: Atkins 4 run (Hermosillo run), 10:11 (22-14 West)
4th, East: Rush 11 pass from Smith (Stephens pass from Turner), 9:32 (22-22 Tie)
4th, West: Hermosillo 13 run (pass failed), 3:54 (28-22 West)
DI All-Star Game Stats:
Total Offense: 351 317
Rush Offense: 180 141
Pass Offense: 171 176
Penalties: 5-35 4-30
Score by Quarters:
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
East 6 0 8 8 22
West 0 6 8 14 28
East: Smith 25-139, TD; Middleton 6-41; Turner 9-0, TD, PAT
West: Atkins 18-90, TD; Hermosillo 26-50, 2 TD, 2 PAT; Kuckelman 1-1
East: Smith: 7-17-166, TD; Turner 1-2-5, INT, PAT
West: Hermosillo 12-18-176, 2 INT; K. Wilson 0-1, INT
East: Rush 4-96, TD; Steadman 1-28; J. Wiens 2-24; Middleton 2-23; Stephens PAT
West: G. Wilson 3-54; Atkins 4-53; Kuckelman 2-52; Baalman 2-21