East All Stars Win Do Or Die Bowl
By David Sharp
Big offensive plays and controlling the line of scrimmage defensively in the second half helped the East All Stars take a 24-14 victory in the seventh annual KHQA Do Or Die high school football all-star game at Canton.
East All Star MVP receiver Nate Jones of Jacksonville HS hauled in four passes for 110 yards and a late third quarter score.
The contest was delayed an hour by an intense round of thunderstorms that rolled through Northeast Missouri into West Central Illinois. The East, or Illinois All Stars fumbled the football twice in the first half.
South Shelby products Ethan Decker and Alex O’Laughlin recovered both fumbles for the West, or Missouri and Southeast Iowa All Stars.
The East team moved the football well in the air most of the game, passing 37 times with 22 completions for 281 yards as a team.
The West club did a good job of stopping the run. The West All Stars limited their opponents to 12 yards on 26 carries. South Shelby Coach Rob Wilt led the West while Mark Grounds coached the East team.
The West team moved the ball on the ground in the first half, but were largely stopped in the second two quarters.
The East led 17-11 in first downs. The West All Stars rushed 38 times for a total of 44 yards.
Centralia graduates Holden Meyers and quarterback Alex Schmersahl hooked up for a Missouri-Iowa touchdown with 11.9 seconds to play in the first half.
Holden Meyers took a pass away from a defender in the end zone for a 7-3 West halftime lead.
Ryan Whiston (Clark County HS) had a 20 yard plus catch, helping set up the last second West touchdown. Whiston had two catches for 48 yards on the day.
Brown County kicker Ace Henricks booted a 23 yard field goal for Illinois with 8:35 remaining in the second quarter for the lone East score of the first half. Brandon Mayfield (Unity-Payson HS) and Rod Sears of Scotland County traded first half interceptions.
Rod Sears was tabbed the Missouri-Iowa defensive MVP. Hannibal running back Mark Nemes rushed 20 times for 74 yards and a score. Nemes was the West All Stars Offensive MVP.
After the teams exchanged third quarter punts, Nick Lonergan hooked up with Jacksonville HS teammate Nate Jones for a 55 yard touchdown catch with 39.3 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Ace Hendricks kicked the PAT for a 10-7 Illinois edge.
The Illinois defense forced a punt to the Illinois 35 yard line around the 11 minute mark of the fourth quarter. Illinois drove the football to the Missouri-Iowa six yard line.
Quincy Notre Dame product Daniel Weiman capped the drive with a six yard run at the 8:55 mark of the fourth quarter. Ace Hendricks made the score 17-7 East.
Missouri-Iowa started their next drive on their 29 yard line with 8:42 to play in the game. East defenders forced Alex Schmersahl to run for his existence on passing downs.
The East defense took familiar target Holden Meyers away enough to stall the drive. The East took over on downs at their 44 yard line with 4:40 remaining.
Daniel Weiman spearheaded a game clinching drive. Weiman scored on a four yard run at the 1:59 mark of the contest.
Ace Hendricks made the score 24-7 in favor of Illinois. Sabe Sears (Scotland County HS) got loose in the secondary, catching a 60 yard plus pass from Mark Twain product Skylar Jameson.
The long pass set up the game’s final score. Mark Nemes scored from four yards out with 54.6 seconds to play in the game. Matt Brown (Bowling Green HS) kicked the extra point for a 24-14 Illinois lead.
The East All Stars recovered an on side kick and ran out the remaining time for the 24-14 win. Illinois has won the last two high school all star games. Graduating seniors from the KHQA viewing area are chosen from Illinois high schools comprising the East All Stars.
Event organizers take in Clarence Cannon Conference schools from as far away as Brookfield and Centralia attempting to equalize the population advantage enjoyed by the Illinois portion.
All of the 2011 West All Stars were from Missouri. Southeast Iowa schools such as Keokuk and Central Lee are included in the selection process.
Quincy Notre Dame lineman Eddy Holtschlag was the Illinois defensive MVP with three quarterback sacks. Kramer Barnes of QND and Skylar Jameson of Mark Twain were the Leadership scholarship winners.
Skylar Jameson was 6-9 for 124 yards passing with no interceptions or touchdowns. Alex Schmersahl went 6-8 passing for 68 yards and a touchdown. Holden Meyers had three West receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown. Sabe Sears had two catches for 71 yards.
Clark County product Justin Alderton rushed six times for ten yards. Alderton had two receptions for minus one yard. Jeremy Logsdon (Clark County HS) was a defensive back and linebacker for the West All Stars.
Clark County offensive linemen Jacob McAfee and Mitchell Welker played for the West All Stars. Knox County defensive end Damon Hemmerling had one half sack for the West All Stars.
Damon Hemmerling had the opportunity to match moves with a Division I player most of the game.
Central Southeastern HS offensive tackle Casey Jackson was one of the best players on the field for the East All Stars.
The West Point bound Jackson held all comers at bay most of the time.
“He is probably the best player I have ever played against,” Damon Hemmerling said.
“He has great footwork, great technique,” Damon Hemmerling said of the 6’5” 245 pound Casey Jackson.
“There was no way around him. I have got to play with the best football players Northeast Missouri has this week,” Damon Hemmerling said.
“It was probably the best experience I have had in football.” The Knox County all district defender told the Edina Sentinel after the contest that he planned to attend Central Methodist University at Fayette this fall.
Hemmerling said that he considered Culver-Stockton College, William Jewell at Liberty, Mo as well as Quincy University to continue his football career.
Knox County has at least two other graduates attending colleges and participating in athletics.
All District catcher Cameron Morford told the Edina Sentinel that he would walk on to the Culver-Stockton College baseball team this fall.
The Wildcats won 24 games and the HACC conference baseball championship in 2011. Morford has an academic scholarship to the Canton, Mo. School.
Former Eagle cheer captain Suzanne Howerton will attend Central Methodist University on a combination academic and cheerleading scholarship.