BELOIT — Several Northwest Kansas stars did their part to make Saturday’s 8-Man Division II Football All-Star Game an entertaining, high-scoring affair.
Osborne’s Darnell Holloway and Otis-Bison’s Anton Foust were among the standout performers representing the area, helping lead the West squad to a convincing 54-28 win over the East at Beloit High School's Trojan Field.
“It was a great experience, the whole week and bonding with the boys,” Holloway said. “We came out here and got the dub, and that’s even better. That’s what we wanted.”
Holloway, a Fort Hays State signee, and Foust made a dynamic one-two punch at quarterback for the West, which fell behind 20-8 in the first half before reeling off 32 unanswered points to take control.
Both Foust and Holloway had big days on the ground.
“It was nice to learn from him, and I bet he might have learned something from me,” Foust said. “Between the two of us, we had something good going on.”
Other area stars with big plays on offense included Thunder Ridge’s Brandon Grauerholz, Osborne’s Kade Miller and Northern Valley's Caden Bach.
“Everyone was impressive to me. Everyone did their part,” said Holloway, who teamed with fellow Bulldogs Miller and Jordan Wherry one last time.
A one-handed six-yard touchdown grab from Hanover's Thomas Atkins gave the East a 12-point lead early in the second quarter. But the West answered when Grauerholz took a pitch from Holloway 24 yards for a touchdown.
After an interception from Dighton’s Dalton Hoffman in the East’s end zone, the West took the lead for good on an 8-yard run from Foust, making it 24-20 with 2:32 left in the second quarter.
The East threw another interception in the end zone right before halftime, this time to Dighton’s Blair Hoffman.
The West scored the first two touchdowns of the second half, starting to pull away after Miller’s 6-yard TD catch from Holloway and an 8-yard run from by Minneola’s Jeramy Pfaff.
A 28-yard TD run from Foust helped seal the game, restoring a 20-point lead with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t really know what they were going to bring at us,” Foust said. “Once we started to figure things out, we were able to wear them down and we just kept going.”
The West kept East’s offense in check throughout the second half. The East was also dealt a blow when Hanover quarterback Daiken Stallbaumer left in the third quarter with an injury.
The West team was coached by Chuck Fessenden, who retired at the end of the school year after 43 years coaching at Northern Valley.
“Our kids were pretty physical, we were beating on them and wearing them down,” Fessenden said. “A lot of the plays the (East) was making were off scrambles, where we were making plays off our offense and executing and doing what we were supposed to do.”
WEST PULLS AWAY IN DIVISION I GAME — The West completed the sweep in the Division I All-Star game, using a dominant second half to take a 36-12 win.
The first half was a defensive struggle, with the West taking an 8-6 lead into the break.
The East scored the first TD of the second half, but the West remained in front after St. Francis’ Cody Baxter’s 7-yard TD run, making it 14-12 with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
A 2-yard plunge from Central Plains quarterback Myles Menges gave the West more breathing room and Victoria’s Cooper Windholz helped seal it with a fourth-quarter pick 6.
“It was in the right flat and it looked like it might be a slant, so I just went over there and he basically threw it right to me,” Windholz said. “I just ran and they blocked for me.”
Windholz said it was a good way to finish out his football career.
“Football is about goals and it was good to achieve one last goal,” he said.