West defeats East in Division II All-Star game

Kael McQueen
Wetmore’s Kael McQueen makes a tackle on Kansas State recruit and Shrine Bowl selection Shadryon Blanka during the 8 Man All Star game on Saturday, June 12.
Wetmore’s Kael McQueen makes a tackle on Kansas State recruit and Shrine Bowl selection Shadryon Blanka during the 8 Man All Star game on Saturday, June 12.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason Gilley | Beloit Call Newspaper

The 36th annual 8 Man All Star games were played on June 12 at Beloit Trojan Stadium with the Division II East and West facing off first in the 10 a.m. game. The game featured several local standout players such as Brayden and Blake Perez from St. John’s Catholic, Wyatt Eberle from Lakeside, Lance Kaser from Osborne, and Tra Barrientes, the opposing West player from Sylvan-Lucas.

The East (Gold) team won the coin toss and elected to receive the kickoff. Starting the game at QB was Jacob Juneman of the state champion Hanover Wildcats. After a couple successful small runs and short passes Jueneman unleashed a perfect pass to Mitchell Buessing of Axtell. The defender fell to the ground as the pass arrived allowing Buessing to run untouched into the end zone after the catch. With a successful 2 point conversion run by Colin Jueneman of Hanover the East took an early 8-0 lead.

With the kickoff sailing out of the endzone West took over their first drive on their 15 yard line. The East defense made their presence felt early on with relentless rushing and team tackling. All of the local East players played only defense which turned out to be the best aspect of the first half. As the West marched slowly down the field they came to a stop on the East 25 yard line with a 4th down. The West offense featured Kansas State recruit and Shrine Bowl selection Shadryon Blanka who was held to very few yards by the tenacious East defense. The East turned the ball over on 4th down with a stop deep in the backfield.

On the first play of the second drive Aiden Gerstner of Frankfort was driven to the ground and suffered a game-ending injury with a dislocated shoulder. A top receiver and key player on both sides of the ball, the East had to adapt and rely more on Colin Jueneman. The next play was a failed pitch attempt which resulted in the ball sailing out of bounds leaving the East with a 3rd and 25 deep in their end of the field. The very next play Jacob Jueneman hit his cousin Colin Jueneman with a screen in the flats allowing him to use his speed to beat the defense to the edge. Colin took the ball 60 yards to the endzone for the second East touchdown in a row. The 2 point pass attempt to Buessing was over his head leaving the East up 14-0.

The West showed more potential to move the ball on the next possession grinding their way to the East goal line area. During the drive Brayden Perez and Eberle made several open field tackles, one of Eberle’s being a crushing hit on the runner. The time ran out in the quarter before the West could try and score. The next play by the West was a dive run up the middle which resulted in a bad handoff and fumble. The East were quick to pounce on the loose ball and change possession.

The West made the necessary defensive adjustments and caused a 3 and out on the possession. East had to punt from their goal line and managed a booming 65 yard punt that was left to rest on the West 15 yard line. This time the West made it to the 22 yard line before again failing on a 4th down and 13 attempt which turned the ball over on downs. The East was struggling to get a consistent passing game going and suffered a setback when Jacob Jueneman threw an interception to Jonny Robles from South Central. Robles was a constant thorn in the East side as he made play after play all day on both sides of the ball. He was able to do this with only having the full use of one hand. Robles suffered a severe hand injury in the 200m finals falling at the finish and showed tremendous heart with practice all week and in the game. He was forced out of bounds and the West took over with only 30 yards to go.

The East defense was still playing aggressive and had an answer for their high powered running style. The East forced another punt and took possession inside their own 15 yard line. They later had to give the ball back to the West who also could not move the ball against the tough East defense which was led by the local players and their tremendous tackling. The West’s first break came on the punt where Colin Jueneman was surrounded by several opponents and failed to cleanly catch the ball. The West recovered the ball on the East 28 yard line. The drive was again stopped by the East on 4th down on their 28 yard line. George Volle of Axtell made a devastating hit as the West receiver tried catching the ball.

The West caught yet another break when on 3rd down Jacob Jueneman threw an interception on the 10 yard line resulting in a pick 6 touchdown by Kleyton Schreiber of Stafford. West quarterback Colton McCarty of Cheylin, a 6 Man school player ran the 2 point conversion in making the score 14-8 in favor of the East.

On the following possession the East marched the ball down the field with a mixture of running and precise passing getting to their opponent’s 15 yard line. Jacob Juenemen kept the ball on a QB bootleg sweep for a 15 yard touchdown. The 2 point run was also successful by Jacob with a draw keeper up the middle. The score was now 22-8.

On the West’s next possession they seemed to hit another wall only to complete a long 40 yard pass taking them to their opponent’s 20 yard line. Andrew Bailey of Lebo was able to get most of that yardage back by sacking the quarterback deep in their territory for a 30 yard loss. The West hung on and made a diving attempt for the end zone with the last play of the quarter. Switching sides they were able to easily run the ball in with a quarterback keeper. The 2 point conversion pass from McCarty to Blanka was good making the score 22-16 still in favor of the East.

On the next East possession they could not get out of their red zone area and eventually had to punt which put the West on their own 20 yard line. The momentum changed in favor of the West when the game’s most controversial play happened. McCarty connected on a pass to Blanka on a 30 yard in the air pass which resulted in Blanka being caught from behind by Brayden Perez inside the 5 yard line. While the video may have shown the ball being popped loose by Perez at the 2 yard line and an East defender grabbing it soon after, it only matters what the referee was able to see and the play was called a touchdown. The following 2 point pass attempt was intercepted by Hanover defensive star Jacob Klipp. The 6 points tied the game at 22 points each.

Troubled by poor snaps to Jacob in the shotgun, the East squandered a chance to take the lead and had to punt several plays later. With the Perez brothers and other players playing shut down defense each of the passes were incomplete forcing a 4th down punt. Former wrestling state champion Tra Barrientes was a menace on the punt team. Not only does he snap the ball but is consistently the first one down the field displaying the non-stop energy and speed he always had on the mat. As his 240 pound baby barreled towards the punt returner they stepped aside to avoid a potential nasty collision. He downed the ball on the 5 yard line which would prove to be another break for the West.

On 2nd down the East tried a pitch to Blanka but pressure from Cooper Weinhold of Wilson forced a bad pitch and the fumble in the endzone was recovered by Trevor Zarybnicky of Wheatland-Grinell, the state’s leading tackler and the nation’s #3 tackler. The following 2 point conversion run was stopped by the East but the damage was done. The East now trailed 22-28. 2 of the 4 touchdowns were by the defense at this point.

Unable to put a solid run game together, the East was facing a 4th and 12 play and took a gamble on a long pass standing on their own 10 yard line. The pass sailed at least 35 yards in the air as Colin Jueneman jumped high into the air doing a full 360 degree spin as he caught the ball, landed with the defender pulling him down and managed to use his free hand to stay off the ground, shed the defender and run in for the score to tie the game again at 28 points each. The failed pass conversion attempt left the game in a tie.

The East kicked the ball into the endzone giving West the ball on the 15 yard line. The first play from scrimmage was a pass to Cooper Wolf of South Haven in the flats. Wolf sprinted past the edge defenders and ran 45 yards before being the second running back caught from behind by Brayden Perez. Perez made an amazing diving catch of his foot causing him to fall on the 15 yard line. This time McCarty again kept the ball for a 3 yard score and with the successful 2 point conversion run by Blanka the East was again down by the score of 28-36.

The West crowd was now into the action and making some incredible noise which clearly had an effect on the players. The West team found new energy and seemed to capture the momentum. With less than 55 seconds in the 4th quarter the East had to move the ball 65 yards and make a conversion to reach overtime. They managed one 1st down but on 4th down with 39 seconds left the East quarterback underthrew the ball causing the ball to be turned over on downs and secured the victory for the West team. The West won the game with a score of 36-28.

The winning team was able to send off retiring coach Mike Jenner from Logan/Palco who has coached for 29 years and like many of the players was participating in his last game. His emotional speech following the game inspired the players and fans alike. In a classy move the West team stood and acknowledged the fans who they felt were an important part of their victory. As many of the players and coaches discussed during the week, they were all just very happy the game was allowed to be played after last year’s was cancelled due to Covid-19. Both teams played their hearts out and left everything on the field.

The Sabetha Herald1963 Posts

The Sabetha Herald has been serving Sabetha since 1876.

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