BELOIT, Kans.—Players from across the state converged on Beloit this week to prepare for the 27th Annual 8-Man All Star Football Games. Coaches and athelets enjoyed four days of practices and evening activities to come together to represent their schools at Trojan Field on Saturday, June 9th.
The Division I teams kicked off first. Both squads fielded stout defensive efforts through the first half. South Gray's Coulter Croft scored on a one-yard run, with the conversion good, to give the West an 8-0 lead at halftime.
In the 3rd quarter, Macksville's Seth Filbert, hooked up with Lincoln's Wyatt Schroeder on touchdown passes of 15 and 10 yards sandwiched around a safety, forced by the West's defense to lead 24-0 at the end of 3. Croft would carry the ball once more in the 4th quarter, breaking several tackles on an outstanding 73-yard run down the left side line and Kiowa County's Ross Binford scored on a 3-yard run to account for the final tally.
“Sometimes in an All Star game, all you need is a couple big plays to get things going,” said Kiowa County's Clint Young, head coach of the West squad. “We knew with their size, we'd have to try to make some big plays and we got that in the second half.”
Filbert completed four of his eight passes for 78 yards, including the two touchdowns for the West squad, while Croft accounted for nearly half of the rushing total with 90 yard on just four carries.
East head coach Sam Meyers of Rock Hills was pleased with his defense's effort despite the points surrendered. “The kids played hard all day, and all week at practice. We threw a lot at them and we just never could get our guys some space.”
The East squad was lead offensively by Lakeside's Miles Thomas who toted the pig skin 21 times for 72 yards. Despite the shut out on the scoreboard, the West only managed to out-gain the East, 280-260 total yards of offense.
The West now leads the East in Division I series, 8-4.
East runs past West in Division II
The Divison II game showed the promise of fireworks early on. Moscow's Osvaldo Granillo took the opening kickoff 73 yards for a touchdown to give the West the first points of the game.
They would add another touchdown to lead 16-0 early in the 2nd quarter. But then the East struck. Forty-six straight points later, the East held an insurmountable lead, on their way to a 52-24 victory.
The Baileyville B&B trio of Quarterback/Safety Eric Huerter, Fullback/Linebacker Cody Heiman, and Runningback Mitch Engelken, made play after play on both sides of the ball to spur the East squad.
Engelken and Huerter, who missed the state championship game in November with injury, accounted for two thirds of the offense rolled up by the East.
“The line did a great job opening some holes and coach called the right plays at the time to get us open,” said Huerter.
Baileyville B&B's coach, Justin Coup, used Engelken the best, as he set an All Star game record with 233 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns on 20 carries. Huerter completely 8 of 18 passes for 78 yards, while scrambling and bootlegging his way to 72 yards on 10 carries.
All total, the East squad would roll up 529 yards of total offense, including 451 on the ground. Heiman, along with Hanover's Brent Bruna lead an East defensive effort that held the West to just 198 yards of offense.
“That was about as big and strong a line as you could put together in this state,” said Cheylin's coach Max Keltz, head coach of the West. “I thought our kids did a great job fighting through the heat, but we just couldn't make enough plays.” Ashland's Austin Stebens threw for 69 yards and Dighton's Guy Fullmer ran for 2 scores to lead the West.
“We take so much away from this week as coaches,” said Coup. “It's so great to come together and bounce ideas and experiences off each other, because you know the guys on the other sideline have been through the same things you have.”
The East now leads the West 8-4 in the Division II series.