Northview players enjoy a fun Knight at Wabash Valley All-Star game

Sunday, June 24, 2018
Northview linebacker Braddok Whistler races to make a tackle in the second quarter of Saturday's all-star game.

By ANDREW BOWEN

For The Brazil Times

TERRE HAUTE -- Fun.

Three Northview players said they had a great deal of it Saturday night when they played in the 2018 Wabash Valley Football coaches Association All-Star game at Indiana State University’s football stadium. They played on the Gold squad, which fell to the Black team 32-28.

Despite the loss, three Northview players on the Gold team said they enjoyed playing in the All-Star game and enjoyed even more the camaraderie with players from 14 other schools in Indiana and Illinois.

“It was a lot of fun,” said punter Jarett Combs, who played his last game of organized football. “We came together as a team. I had a great time. It was fun.”

Northview's Jarett Combs (right) covers Elijah Rivera on a pass route Saturday night.

All three players said they enjoyed the chance to meet other players and form bonds with them. Combs and safety Michael Heading pointed out about half the team spent Friday night at the home of a Sullivan player.

“I met a lot of new players,” said linebacker Braddok Whistler. ”I really enjoyed it. It just taught us how to be open to a variety of people.”

The Knights played with former rivals -- players from teams like Sullivan, Terre Haute North, and Edgewood -- but Whistler said it was easy to form bonds with those players. He said he tried to make friends “and we just clicked like that.”

One of the players Whistler and Heading met is wide receiver Joel Weiner of Eastern-Greene. All three players will play football for Franklin College next year.

“If I need help,” Whistler said, “I’ve got some people to go talk to.”

“I think all three of us are excited about it, especially after this game,” Heading said of next fall.

Defense ruled the first quarter as neither team scored. Led by Eastern quarterback Caleb Hamilton, who will play at Indiana State next year, the Gold squad drove to a second and 6 at the Black 17, but the Black D forced Hamilton into two incompletions and sacked him for a 4-yard loss on fourth down.

Black got on the board early in the second quarter when Garrett Frank’s 3-yard run capped a 15-play, 72-yard drive. Quarterback Daniel Burkett sparked the Black drive with runs of 16 and 21 yards.

The Gold team countered with its first TD as Hamilton threw 46 yards to Wesley Cottrell to set up his 1-yard scoring plunge.

The other team took a 12-7 lead into the locker room when Burkett threw a 12-yard scoring strike to Braxton Burgener with 37 ticks on the clock.

Brody Spencer, Black’s other quarterback, hooked up with Elijah Rivera on an 18-yard TD pass to increase the Black lead to 20-7 early in the third frame.

The teams then exchanged long scoring plays. Hamilton threw 72 yards to Tyson Magee for a touchdown, but Rivera ran the ensuing kickoff back for another score.

Two TD runs, two yards by Peyton Doughty and 45 yards by Hamilton, put Gold on top 28-26 with 7:25 left on the clock.

The squads swapped some punts and Black had a first and 10 with only 2:28 on the clock. Three plays gained only three yards, but Burkett lofted a 49-yard scoring strike to Burgener.

The Gold players drove to a fourth and seven at their 49 with less than a minute remaining, but Hamilton’s fourth-down pass was incomplete and the Black team took a knee the rest of the way.

Combs said miscommunication caused the final incompletion. He said that didn’t change his opinion that Saturday night was great fun.

He also said he wanted to give a “shout out” to the coaches. He said they did a good job of preparing the players and displayed a “good sense of humor.”

While it would have been fun to win, Heading said, it still was enjoyable to be a Gold player.

“It wasn’t like we were competing for the season or the last game,” said Heading. “It was great to come out and play football again.”

Black012146--32
Gold07714--28

Second Quarter

Black -- Frank 3 run (kick blocked), 9:38.

Gold -- Hamilton 1 run (Carr kick), 5:25.

Black -- Burgener 12 pass from Burkett (pass failed), 00:37

Third Quarter

Black -- Rivera 18 pass from Spencer (Herrin pass from Spencer), 7:52.

Gold -- Magee 72 pass from Hamilton (Carr kick), 6:05.

Black -- River 89 kickoff return (pass failed), 5:52.

Fourth Quarter

Gold -- Doughty 2 run (Carr kick), 11:57.

Gold -- Hamilton 45 run (Carr kick), 7:25.

Black -- Burgener 49 pass from Burkett (pass failed), 2:03.