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Football: North wins defensive slugfest, 12-7

Doug Lindley/Idaho State Journal
The North’s Derek Marlowe (7) gets the way cleared out for him by Skyline’s Kellen Higgins (55) and Idaho Falls’ Tyler Ackershot (51) during the North verse South All-Star Game Saturday evening in Snake River.

By LUKE O’ROARK | Post Register
Loroark@postregister.com

MORELAND — Depending on who you talk to about this year’s Eastern Idaho All-Star football game at Harrison Field Saturday, you’ll hear multiple stories from multiple vantage points.

The North won 12-7 in a defensive slugfest despite multiple offensive drives stalling out in the red zone. Neither team — consisting of District 6 and District 5’s “best players” (some schools from both districts didn’t dress due to graduation, personal reasons, etc.) — scored in the second half, yet there were multiple stories?

Yes.

If you ask Idaho Falls Todd Payne, who had a forced fumble and was a part of the North’s stout defensive line made up of Teton’s Chad LaRose, Skyline’s Marley Garcia and Rigby’s Tane Togiai, Saturday was relatively “boring.”

“I hate to say it, but they ran the ball quite a bit. It wasn’t very eventful,” said Payne, who will play at Montana State. “But our defensive stood up. … We had some good gang tackles.

“It was a lot fun, I got to play with a lot of kids that I’ve hated, a lot of kids I wished I played with, but man, I wish I got a little bit more action. I played damn near every snap, but I had a lot of fun still,” Payne added with a smile.

For Rigby receiver and returner Austin Good, it was an exercise in improvisation as both teams only had a week to game plan. Good’s 51-yard first-half-trick-play-throw to Skyline’s Caleb Mayes ended up being the second-most important play in the game.

Doug Lindley/Idaho State Journal
The South’s Coby Johnson (11) stretches out for the first down with the North’s Keagan Kearsley (61) and Rustin Rinderknect (9) trying to tackle him short of the down markers in the North verse South All-Star Football game Saturday night in Snake River.

Hillcrest’s players — Derek Marlowe, Dalton Clark, Devin Wernette, Parker Somsen — practiced with the team scarcely.

“It was interesting. We only had a week of practice, so it was pretty interesting getting all the schools together,” said Good, who will try to walk on at Dixie State. “The biggest part for me was all the verbiage, different words for different formations and the way things run. For the guys we had, because we had graduation and all that, some guys had two days of practice.

“If we could get everybody on the same page, I feel like things could’ve been interesting, but it was a lot more physical than everybody expected,” Good added.

For small school players like West Jefferson’s Braxton Ramiez, who had an interception Saturday, and Teton’s Hunter DeRize, who finished with a big hit during the second quarter, it meant a chance to hang with the bigger schools.

For Mayes, it was redemption, of sorts, for a regular season cut short due to a calf injury. He was a member of the Grizzlies’ repeat 4A state championship team, but Saturday was one last shot to show off his athleticism after his hurt calf stole half of his senior year.

“Skyline’s program means everything to me. They’ve helped me out so much. All the lessons and memories that have helped me further,” said Mayes, whose teammates coordinated a “bowling celebration” after Kyler Morgan scored with seven minutes left in the second. Morgan’s 2-yard scamper was the last score of the evening.

For Morgan and Mayes’ regular season coach, Scott Berger, it was a reminder — no matter how ugly the sport can be with low scoring, concussions, trash taking — of how important the sport is to a community that will see new faces come this fall.

“I told those guys, ‘If this is your last game, it’s a good game to finish with and hey, make sure you go back and thank the people that have helped you in your football career. Make sure you thank your parents, and go back and help the game of football,’” Berger said. “Everybody wants to bash it now, it’s too dangerous, it’s too this, it’s too that, you know what? As I tell people: it’s the ultimate team game.

“You have to have an offense, you have to have defense, you gotta have special teams,” Berger added.

Saturday had plenty of defense — and finality to it.

After North’s offense stalled out inside the redzone (a Tanner Clayton fourth-down fade to Marlowe was called incomplete), the South had one last chance with one second left on the clock.

Despite some District 5 bright spots such as a first quarter Coby Young touchdown throw, some hard running from Kade Mortensen and four sacks from Brayden Parker, District 6 maintained its win streak over District 5.

The South’s final play, a hook-and-ladder play, was smothered out.

“In the four games I’ve (coached the all-star game), we’ve given up three touchdowns in four games,” Berger said. “So, as a defensive guy, hey that’s fun.”

Correction: Devin Wernette was a Hillcrest player at this year’s east Idaho All-Star game. This story has been updated to represent the most accurate information. 

NORTH 12, SOUTH 7

North 6 6 0 0 — 12

South 7 0 0 0 — 7

FIRST QUARTER

1:58 (SOUTH) — Snake River’s Coby Young 80-yard pass to Century Coleton Adamson (PAT good).

1:39 (NORTH) — Rigby’s Austin Good 56-yard pass to Caleb Mayes (PAT no good).

SECOND QUARTER

7:22 (NORTH) — Skyline’s Kyler Morgan 2-yard run (PAT blocked).

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