HASTINGS, Neb. — The West team decided to stop playing games with Iowa recruit Nathan Bazata in the second half of Saturday's Eight-Man All-Star Game.
So it stopped double teaming the Howells-Dodge star, controlled the clock with power running and turned a 10-0 halftime deficit into a 12-10 win at Hastings College's Lloyd Wilson Field. It was the West's sixth straight win in the series.
“We didn't block very well in the first half,” said Spalding/Spalding Academy coach Troy Kleffner, who coached the West team. “We were combo blocking Bazata in the first half, and that was keeping one of our linemen off of a linebacker.
“We just blocked him one-on-one in the second half and our linemen just did a great job.”
They even scored a touchdown.
On the opening drive of the second half, Mullen guard Josh Vinton caught a pass from Kenesaw's Tyler Schnitzler that got the West on the board. The guard-eligible play came from a spread set on fourth-and-2 from the 12. The play capped an 18-play, 76-yard drive that took 8:25.
“We put that play in this week and ran it just two or three times in practice,” said Schnitzler, who will play football at the University of Nebraska at Kearney this fall. “Josh is such a good kid, and he's got great hands. That was the first touchdown he ever scored. I was happy we got that play to work.”
Later in the fourth quarter, Schnitzler set up the game-winner with a 34-yard pass to Brady Knigge of Potter-Dix. Two plays later, Shelton's Luke Glenn scored on a 3-yard run to give the West the lead for good.
Schnitzler, who was 5 for 12 passing for 68 yards with 40 yards rushing on eight carries, was named the West's offensive player of the game. Giltner's Ryan Kleier was the West's defensive player of the game.
“It was a great honor to play with these guys this week,” said Kleier, who played middle linebacker for a defense that allowed seven first downs the entire game. “It was a great experience and nice to get the win.”
Kleffner thought his defense was the difference in the game.
“Our defense did a great job,” he said. “They kept us in it in the first half, and then just did a great job in the second half of not allowing anything. They made some huge stops for us.”
High Plains quarterback Tanner Fate was named the East's offensive player of the game while Bazata was honored on defense.
The East leads the all-time series 19-17.
East ........................... 3 7 0 0—10
West ........................... 0 0 6 6—12
E: FG Jac Bailey (McCool Junction) 37
E: Kyle Frauendorfer (Lindsay Holy Family) 3 run (Bailey kick)
W: Josh Vinton (Mullen) 12 pass from Tyler Schnitzler (Kenesaw) (kick failed)
W: Luke Glenn (Shelton) 3 run (pass failed)
RUSHING: East, Lane Scheitel (Falls City SH) 4-17, Austin Ruskamp (Freeman) 3-5, Jac Bailey (McCool Junction) 10-19, Blake Touchstone (Nebraska City Lourdes) 6-30, Tanner Fate (High Plains) 2-12, Kyle Fraunendorfer (Lindsay Holy Family) 2-4, Carlin Krienert (Osmond) 1-3, Marcus Claussen (Wausa) 1-(minus 6), Team 1-0. West, Luke Glenn (Shelton) 16-25, Tyler Schnitzler (Kenesaw) 8-40, Spenser Gydesen (Elwood) 6-24, Brady Knigge (Potter-Dix) 2-5, Ross Schindler (Elgin/Pope John) 7-10, Team 2-(minus 2).
PASSING: East, Scheitel 5-8-75-2, Fate 1-4-2-0, Bailey 0-1-0-0, Claussen 0-2-0-0. West, Schnidler 3-4-23-0, Schnitzler 5-12-68-1.
RECEIVING: East, Cole Arnett (Hampton) 3-43, Ruskamp 1-(minus 2), John Weiser (Humphery St. Francis) 2-36. West, Glenn 2-14, Josh Vinton (Mullen) 3-21, Tyson Howard (Ansley-Litchfield) 1-5, Knigge 1-34.