North sends South packing in All-Star Classic
In last year’s inaugural Southern Indiana All-Star Football Classic at Providence High School in Clarksville, both the North and South teams struggled to reach paydirt in a 12-3 victory by the South. Friday night’s second edition of the Classic saw a completely different scenario that left one question to be asked: When would the scoring end?
With an effort that resembled something between a speeding locomotive with no brakes and a 10-ton boulder tumbling down a hillside, the North unit steamrolled the South by a 54-14 margin.
Led by 278 yards passing and five touchdown lobs by Mitchell quarterback Kirk Page, and 80 yards and three touchdowns by Salem receiver-returner Luke Dean, the 1,000 or so fans on hand at Providence saw the Classic turn into a clunker.
North’s defense, led by Bedford-North Lawrence’s Darin Powell (one sack for a 23-yard loss), Mitchell’s Shawn Bay (one sack for a two-yard loss), West Washington’s Travis Nicholson (one sack), and Seymour’s Bronson Germano (two sacks and a blocked punt) kept constant pressure on South’s quarterbacks.
And the defense got a ton of support from the offense, coached by Mitchell’s Darrin Russell. Last season, Russell’s Bluejackets went to the air more times than Southwest,and Mitchell’s coach wasn’t about to buck the trend for the all-star game. His squad racked up 382 total yards.
North’s Page was able to stand back in the pocket and pick apart South’s secondary with the precision of a surgeon. In fact, just three plays into the frey, Page found Dean streaking down the sidelines for a 55-yard strike. After South had gone three and out, North hit paydirt again on an eight-yard scamper by Seymour’s Clint Bobb and wrapped up the first-quarter scoring on another connection from Page to Dean, this time for 13 yards, for a 20-0 lead after the first quarter.
The second quarter wasn’t much prettier for the South: it gave up a 12-yard scoring strike from Page to Ian Thomas of Columbus East just 54 seconds into the period, and with 6:21 left, Chris Lambring of Brownstown Central booted a 33-yard field goal.
And as quick as the South scored a TD on a 38-yard, half-back pass from Providence’s Justin Campbell to Seth Womack of Floyd Central, North answered with a 92-yard kickoff return by Dean down the left sideline for a 34-7 score at the half.
In the third quarter, South looked like it was going to make the score respectable when Clarksville’s Brian Turner hit Womack for a 35-yard pass and followed with a one-yard sneak. Floyd’s James Lowe knocked in the PAT to make it 34-14 with 10:14 left. Again, North’s stars countered with another quick score, this time from Page to Bobb for 63 yards. The same duo hooked up one more time before the quarter-horn sounded on a one-yard lob to make it 47-14.
The last score of the game came on a seven yard dive by Richard Nehring of Columbus North with 8:49 left.
Six Harrison County athletes — four from North Harrison and two from Corydon Central — were on the losing squad, but all had their names announced at one time or another during the scrap over the PA system at Murphy Stadium.
Corydon’s Ian Dougherty snared a pair of passes in the second half for 25 yards, and North’s Brandon Cox caught one pass for six yards. Cougar fullback Travis Arnold had one carry for two yards and got into the backfield on defense for a sack on Page in the second quarter while teammate Leland Rhoades had a part in a couple of take-downs. Mark Squire of North and the Panthers’ Jesse Sater spent their time in the trenches blocking for the South team.
South was led in rushing by Donald Cooper of New Albany, who had 50 yards, while Womack led the passing attack with six catches for 120 yards. Campbell had two receptions for 43 yards as well.
North’s offensive MVP, as voted by coaches at the game, was Bobb while Germano received the nod on the defensive side of the ball. For the South, Campbell was the offensive MVP and Lincoln Turnage was honored on the defense.