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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Former Knights earn win in final high school game

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Northview graduate Damon Hyatt races to the sideline on his way to a kick return for a touchdown. [Order this photo]

TERRE HAUTE -- Damon Hyatt knew the punt was going over his head.

In the 2012 Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star game, the Northview graduate's Black team had a two-touchdown lead with five minutes remaining in the first half when the Gold team's punter, A. J. Hughes of Terre Haute North, booted a 74-yard punt deep in his own territory.

Hyatt knew Hughes would kick it over his head. Hyatt turned around, tracked the ball behind him and secured it. What Hyatt didn't know, however, is that after starting out right, he would reverse field all the way back to the left, pick up a pair of blocks and fall into the end zone 85 yards later for a touchdown.

The Black team would go on to win on a 32-yard field goal with a minute left, 44-41, in the highest-scoring Wabash Valley All-Star game in its history.

"I hadn't gotten a touch up to that point in the game. I was hungry for the ball," Hyatt said. "I love open field opportunities, I love making people miss. There's nothing more fun than cutting back field three or four times and scoring a touchdown on a punt return."

The Black team took a 21-0 lead thanks to a 66-yard touchdown catch by Marshall's Taylor Sanders. The Gold team responded with a touchdown to narrow the lead to 14.

After Hyatt's punt return, the Gold team scored another touchdown as the Gold wide receiver leapt over the Black team's defensive back to secure the ball.

Both teams traded scores again and the Black team led 35-21 at the half.

The Black team scored two more times in the third quarter, and led 41-20 with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter.

But, no fans left their seats, as they knew that in this game, any amount of scoring was possible.

They were proven right as the Gold team's Brook Pampe scored on a 36-yard touchdown catch, narrowing the lead to two touchdowns. After a touchdown run, Mattoon's Shaunesy Carlen tied the game at 41 with a quarterback scramble with nine minutes remaining.

On the ensuing drive, the Black team moved down the field, running out the clock to set up kicker Andre Strohm for a game-winning 32-yard field goal. The All-Star game was Strohm's first game kicking in a live game situation.

Riverton Parke's Gary Secuskie finalized the game for the Black team with an interception with under a minute remaining.

"This was the last time playing high school football," Chance Talbot said. "There's no better way to end it than with a win."

The Northview players that participated in the game were Hyatt, Talbot, Jed Thomas, Aaron See, Ethan Stewart and Bryant Pestoff.