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Jun. 27—The 17th annual Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game came down to an onside kick Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, with the Black Squad recovering and hanging on for a 15-14 win over the Gold Squad.

Black had taken an early lead with nine points in less than three minutes early in the second quarter and scored again to go up 15-6 with 9:15 left in the game.

But Gold — after losing the ball on a goal-line interception and then on a fumble — still managed to drive 67 yards in 70 seconds late in the game, scoring when Northview’s Keegan Garrison hit Linton’s Trey Goodman for a 35-yard score with 1:12 remaining. But Black fell on the kickoff and took a knee four times to run out the clock.

“We kept shooting ourself in the foot, but our defense made big plays and we were able to hold them off for a victory,” said coach Chuck Sorrell of South Putnam and the Black Squad.

Coach Blaine Powell of Sullivan and the Gold Squad could have made the first half of that statement himself. Instead he said, “We missed some opportunities in the red zone and our early turnovers hurt, and when you’re only together for one week you can have things like that happen. But we recovered from that; we just came up a couple plays short.”

South Vermillion’s Anthonio Nieves unofficially set an all-star game record with 24 carries, gaining 123 yards, and scored two touchdowns as the Black Squad did its best work in the ground game.

“It was great competition and a great game, a lot of fun,” the Franklin-bound Nieves said afterward. “We had a great line — a lot of holes and great push.”

“This was very fun,” said Terre Haute North tackle K.C. Bowling, one of those linemen who will be playing at Wabash. “It was very exciting to knock people around . . . we stuck our noses to the ground and did what we needed to win.”

A 27-yard run by South Putnam’s Hayden Switzer on the third play of the game set up a potential scoring drive for Black right off the bat, but Sullivan’s Karver Queen got the first of his two interceptions — tying an all-star game record — to stop that drive.

The next time Black had the ball it got inside the 30-yard line again before being forced to punt, but South Putnam’s Gabe Langley recovered a fumbled punt at the 5-yard line and two plays later — on the first snap of the second quarter — Nieves scored his first touchdown.

The teams traded turnovers — a fumble recovery by West Vigo’s Shea Andrews, then Queen’s second pick — but Gold started its offensive series at its own 5-yard line and suffered a safety on its first play when South Vermillion’s Kadin McMahan made the top in the end zone with West Vigo stalwarts Cayden Cinotto and Evan Wyrick ready to help out.

Two more Black turnovers — fumbles recovered by Olney’s Austin Nuttall and Eastern Greene’s Ty Rollins — and outstanding play by defensive end Ilias Gordon of Northview and linebacker Brach Carrington of Greencastle gave Gold time to get its offense untracked, and Northview’s Korbin Allen, as a wildcat quarterback, scored on a 7-yard run with 5:39 left in the half.

“I like the wildcat. I just like getting the ball in my hands,” Allen said later.

Gold threatened again in the waning seconds of the half, a long pass from Marshall’s Luke Cook to Olney’s Gavin Dorn putting the ball at the 9-yard line. But an incomplete fourth-down pass turned the ball back to Black 28 seconds before intermission.

Both teams had third-quarter drives halted by fourth-down completions that came up short of a first down. Black then marched to its last touchdown, Nieves carrying the ball on nine of 11 plays before scoring from the 2-yard line. The goal-line interception by Indian Creek’s Jordan Gorham and the fumble stopped Gold twice.

Gold still had time for its final drive, with Allen contributing a 22-yard reception before Garrison and Goodman hooked up for the score. Goodman, the game’s leading receiver with six catches for 76 yards, was playing wideout for the first time, having been a quarterback and wingback for the Miners.

“It’s another new [position],” Goodman said after the game — his last, since he won’t be playing in college.

“It’s sad, but also a fun moment,” Goodman said. “One more game. Not everybody gets to leave [football] like this.”

“I had a great time out here,” added Allen, who will play at Indiana State. “New offense, new players, new brotherhood.”

“It’s been a great week,” said Powell. “Win or lose, this week is awesome for the players, the coaches and everybody involved.”

“It was fun,” Sorrell agreed. “All the kids played really hard.

“It was fun being the head coach [for the first time] but it’s a lot of work,” Sorrell continued. “I was lucky enough to put together a really good staff, and [my assistant coaches] are really good at their profession. And all-star kids are easy to coach.”

—Scholarship winners — As has always been the case in this game, plenty of scholarship money was handed out.

Winners chosen by their all-star coaches were Switzer and Edgewood’s Brody Schaeffer. The Jay Barrett Scholarships, chosen by the players themselves, went to Nieves and Allen. The Eitel Scholarships for academics went to a pair of valedictorians with 4.0 grade-point averages, Bowling and Allen. The linemen scholarships went to Parker Hacker of South Putnam and Brach Carrington. The “Good Night Irene” Scholarship sponsored in the name of former North coach Wayne Stahley went to Queen, and the Rene Foli Scholarship went to Nieves.

Black 15, Gold 14



B — Anthonio Nieves (South Vermillion) 2 run (Dawson Dallape, Casey, kick), 11:58 2nd

B — Safety, Gold runner tackled in end zone, 9:22 2nd

G — Korbin Allen (Northview) 7 run (pass failed), 5:39 2nd

B — Nieves 17 run (run failed), 9:15 4th

G — Trey Goodman (Linton) 35 pass from Keegan Garrison (Northview) (Jayden Fleming, Olney, pass from Garrison), 1:12 4th


First downs=14=12


Passing yards=50=211


Return yards=19=44




Individual statistics

Rushing — Black: Nieves 24-123, Hayden Switzer (South Putnam) 14-61, Jace Russell (Terre Haute North) 8-25, Team 4-minus 4. Gold: Allen 8-27, Brody Schaeffer (Edgewood) 1-15, Luke Cook (Marshall) 2-9, Gavin Dorn (Olney) 2-9, Logan Carrington (Greencastle) 1-5, Jaeden King (Sullivan) 2-5, Goodman 1-4, Garrison 1-0.

Passing — Black: Riley Stone (South Putnam) 3-6-1, 53 yards; Russell 1-5-1, minus 3; Switzer 0-1-0, 0. Gold: Garrison 12-18-1, 124; Cook 6-9-0, 87.

Receiving — Black: Zander Wilbur (West Vigo) 2-3, Zarik Chmielewski (Cascade) 1-40, Switzer 1-7. Gold: Goodman 6-76, Allen 5-31, Fleming 2-38, Ethan Payne (Monrovia) 2-16, Dorn 1-36, Schaeffer 1-10, Jacob Mitchell (Marshall) 1-4.