TERRE HAUTE —
All things considered, it wasn’t the worst time to be without a working scoreboard.
Lightning on Friday had rendered both scoreboards at Memorial Stadium useless for Saturday night’s ninth annual Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game, so the fans on hand got to watch two evenly matched teams go back and forth.
But even though the statistics were even enough, the score wasn’t. An opportunistic Gold team, led by a pair of Vigo County players in seemingly unlikely positions, scored in each of the first three quarters and won the game 18-0, posting the first shutout in the history of the event.
Hard-hitting defense was on display all night by both teams — the dozen or so outstanding running backs in the game averaged less than two yards per carry cumulatively, for example — and the first 10 plays of the game netted two yards. But on a third-and-13 play on Gold’s second series, quarterback Colin Smith of Cascade dropped back and fired a bomb to Terre Haute North’s Charles Dillahunt.
That play didn’t set the tone for the game as much as the ensuing series did. Black marched to three first downs, easily the best drive of the first quarter, only to have a sack and tackle for a loss — West Vigo’s Danny Creasey contributing to both — force a fourth-and-19 punt.
Gold got a pair of big plays from the passing combination of Sullivan’s Payne Fortner to Edgewood’s Derek Driver on its next series — a 42-yarder to get the team out of the shadow of its goal posts, a fingertip grab for a touchdown a few plays later — and now the score was 12-0.
And again Black drove down the field, picking up three first downs only to be stymied by back-to-back pass rushes from Turkey Run’s Riley Sunderman and North Putnam’s Eric Davis.
“We’d just stall out on a drive,” Black coach Jim Sullivan of Casey said after the game. “Mistakes. Little breakdowns here and there.”
“It’s tough coming out here. We’ve never played with some of these guys,” added the Black team’s quarterback Nick Gilliam of Greencastle. “From day one [of all-star practice] we made a tremendous [improvement] … but some didn’t bounce our way.”
Back-to-back interceptions late in the second quarter by Gold’s Chris Neidlinger of West Vigo and Black’s Luke Clapp of Tri-County (in the end zone) kept the score 12-0 by halftime, and in the third quarter Black again started to march.
Big runs by Jesse Miller of Northview, Gilliam and Dalton Livvix of Casey picked up first downs. A fourth-down option run by Gilliam picked up another, at Gold’s 22-yard line.
But Owen Valley’s Caleb Arthur snuffed a first-down run, and on third down Gilliam scrambled but only back to the line of scrimmage — a key point since Creasey, who made the stop, needed one more sack for an all-star record.
“I got two [sacks] and six tackles,” he said in mock disgust afterward, and he’d gotten the two sacks early. Better known as a Viking running back during the season — although he did see some defensive line action — the 180-pounder found himself double-teamed after that.
On fourth down, Gilliam went to the air, and his pass went off a receiver’s hands to Terre Haute North’s Vasco Billberry. The All-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference linebacker was playing safety on Saturday, and he returned the pick 69 yards into Black territory. Two plays later his Patriot teammate Brother Scank capped the scoring with a 17-yard run.
Billberry added another interception — also off the hands of a Black receiver — in the fourth quarter, and also saw some action offensively at fullback. He caught one pass and also took a handoff, then dealt an option pitchout to Scank.
“I had a lot of fun,” Billberry said afterward. “I never got a chance to [play safety] in my conference … and the coaches told me for every turnover, I got the ball [on offense].”
“His interceptions were big,” noted Gold coach Brian Crabtree of North Vermillion. “Anytime you win the turnover battle, that increases your chances of winning.”
Those last two interceptions were the culmination of what could have been a frustrating night for Gilliam, who had at least half a dozen passes go off receivers’ hands.
“That’s gonna happen,” he said philosophically. “I’ve had plenty of games where guys were doing diving, one-hand catches for me too.”
Miller was the game’s leading rusher, while Scank’s statistics for Gold didn’t reflect his importance — or, as usual, the number of defenders he knocked backward instead of going around them. For his work during the week, he received one of the coaches choice scholarships awarded by Sir Thomas Automotive.
“I just did what I always do,” Scank said. “I knew this was the last time I’d play high school football, so I gave everything I got.”
Often banged up during the 2012 Patriot season, Scank also seemed healthy Saturday — including hurdling several tacklers with a spectacular leap in the waning seconds of the first half.
“I felt good all week,” he agreed.
“The kids played with really good intensity and great enthusiasm,” Crabtree said. “[Winning] capped a great week overall.”
“It was a blast,” said Creasey. “This was the last time I’ll play football, so I went all out. We had the first shutout ever; we made history.”
“It was all about fun,” Billberry added. “We were here to win and we won.”
“They’re great kids and they all have bright futures,” Sullivan said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for area kids to get a chance to play in this game.”
n Other winners — The other coaches choice scholarship went to Shawn McCown of Casey, while the Pete Varda Hall of Fame Scholarships chosen by players’ votes went to Dillon Bell of Terre Haute South and Dante Rehmel of North Central. The 2013 Hall of Fame class of David “Pudge” Bennett, Nick Mourouzis and Dick Ranard helped present those honors.
And for the second straight year the Derek Eitel Memorial Scholarship for academic achievements went to more than one player: Clapp, Matt Schmidlin of Palestine-Hutsonville and Jordan Hahn of Olney all finished their high school careers as valedictorians with 4.0 grade-point averages and were captains of their respective high school teams.
n Injuries — Driver was one of Gold’s busiest players, needing to play cornerback in addition to punting and catching passes.
West Vigo’s Andy Velazquez suffered a dislocated ankle and broke some bones in his leg during a Tuesday practice — he was in surgery Wednesday and in a wheelchair for festivities Friday and Saturday — and Linton’s Koye Kaiser took a big hit on the game’s opening kickoff and was sidelined the rest of the night. Either or both could have been in the defensive backfield.
On the other side of the Velazquez coin, West Vigo’s Ethan Boatman saw plenty of action at linebacker Saturday — his first game action since being injured in the Vikings’ season opener against Evansville Harrison back in August.
Gold 18, Black 0
Black 0 0 0 0 — 0
Gold 6 6 6 0 — 18
G — Charles Dillahunt (Terre Haute North) 51 pass from Colin Smith (Cascade) (kick failed)
G — Derek Driver (Edgewood) 14 pass from Payne Fortner (Sullivan) (kick failed)
G — Brother Scank (Terre Haute North) 17 run (pass failed)
First downs 14 9
Rushes-yards 36-89 27-50
Passing yards 93 150
Comp-Att-Int 12-26-3 10-13-1
Return yards 6 119
Punts-avg 2-38 3-33
Fumbles-lost 0 0
Penalties-yards 3-14 2-10
Rushing: Black — Jesse Miller (Northview) 4-31, Dalton Livvix (Casey) 6-21, Jordan Hahn (Olney) 3-15, Ajaye Meeks (Casey) 5-12, Jon Duniphan (Cumberland) 3-6, Nick Gilliam (Greencastle) 10-6, Stewart Arp (Paris) 2-4, Matt Schmidlin (Palestine-Hutsonville) 1-1, Sterling Langley (Union) 1-minus 5, team 1-minus 2. Gold — Scank 13-29, Smith 5-16, Eric Bobadilla (Cascade) 1-8, Kody Zumwalt (North Vermillion) 1-6, Fortner 5-6, Jacob Creasey (West Vigo) 1-2, team 1-minus 17.
Passing: Black — Gilliam 12-26-3, 93 yards; Meeks 0-1-0, 0; Gold — Fortner 7-9-1, 84 yards, Smith 3-4-0, 66 yards.
Receiving: Black — Skyler Hartbank (Mattoon) 3-8, Meeks 2-13, Gerald Richardson (Oblong) 1-31, Schmidlin 1-8, Langley 1-8, Mac Shuee (Greencastle) 1-7, Arp 1-6, Keaton Neeley (Oblong) 1-6, Joseph Eckert (Palestine-Hutsonville) 1-6. Gold — Driver 3-66, Zumwalt 3-17, Scank 2-11, Dillahunt 1-51, Vasco Billberry (Terre Haute North) 1-5.
Punting: Black — Jeremy Patterson (Terre Haute South) 2-76; Gold — Driver 3-99.
Punt returns: Black — Austin Weck (Robinson) 1-6, Eckert 1-0; Gold — Scank 2-20.
Kickoff returns: Black — Weck 3-45, Dillon Bell (Terre Haute South) 1-10; Gold — Koye Kaiser (Linton) 1-14.
Interception returns: Black — Luke Clapp (Tri-County) 1-0; Gold — Billberry 2-97, Chris Neidlinger (West Vigo) 1-2.
TERRE HAUTE —
All things considered, it wasn’t the worst time to be without a working scoreboard.
- High School
West Vigo shows its youth in loss to Owen Valley
It was a game that confirmed his fears, coach Joe Boehler said Saturday night after his West Vigo team lost 67-51 in its Western Indiana Conference boys basketball opener to visiting Owen Valley.
“I think our young team showed up tonight,” Boehler said. “We did not handle success very well.”
Terre Haute South can't match 'great' Mooresville team
Terre Haute South did very little right Saturday night at Mooresville, while the host Pioneers did very little wrong in an 89-54 victory over the visiting Braves.
Rady passes Sharpe to move into second on all-time victory list
Cloverdale coach Pat Rady, who resides in Terre Haute, climbed to No. 2 on Indiana’s all-time victory list for boys high school basketball Saturday morning when his Clovers got past host Greencastle 60-56 in the semifinals of the Putnam County Classic tournament in McAnally Center.
Consistent effort helps Terre Haute North hold off Robinson
After falling behind 14-2 after one quarter, Robinson’s Maroons bounced back to make it a game at Terre Haute North on Saturday night.
The Maroons cut the gap to 39-33 late in the third quarter, but a crucial turnover led to a 3-pointer by North and the Patriots went on a 65-50 win.
South girls fall to Indy North Central 67-46
Indianapolis North Central used 3-point shooting and defense to prevail in Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference girls high school basketball Saturday, defeating Terre Haute South 67-46.
The Panthers got off to an 8-0 start in the early-afternoon contest played in the South gym and outscored the Braves 20-9 in the final frame to get even for the season at 3-3 and even in the conference at 1-1.
Sister act: Elkins pair have helped West Vigo get off to 4-1 start
Heading into tonight’s home game against Owen Valley, the West Vigo girls basketball team is one win from equaling last season’s total for victories. The 4-1 Vikings are led by post players and sister duo Lexus and Shyanne Elkins.
Rady could break tie with Sharpe today
Longtime boys basketball coach Pat Rady has a chance to pass the legendary Howard Sharpe for No. 2 on Indiana’s all-time victory list today when his Cloverdale Clovers play Greencastle at 10 a.m. in the first game of the postponed Putnam County Classic at Greencastle.
New dates when available
- Vigo County basketball matchups
Study looks at effects of concussions
Austen Cummings sits in class and can’t remember what he’s supposed to focus on. He doesn’t have a learning disability or an attention disorder. The Homestead High School sophomore suffered two concussions in the span of two months while playing football. The concussions have caused Cummings to blank out in class, at times for almost a half-hour.
Even high-rated helmets may not protect players
Two studies this year highlight the tough choices and conflicting information that parents and coaches face when trying to protect football players from head trauma.
PREP ROUNDUP: West Vigo girls basketball cruises past Sullivan
Lexus Elkins poured in 15 points, Shyanne Elkins contributed 13 and McKenzie Little added 11 to lead the host Vikings over Sullivan 57-40 in Western Indiana Conference action Tuesday night inside the Green Dome.
Terre Haute South girls hold off Northview's surge
A funny thing happened on the way to a Terre Haute South blowout victory Tuesday night at Northview High School. The Knights fought back and nearly pulled out a win.
Three-point baskets by Kennedy Williams and Lauren Perrelle and free throws by Kylie Fendrick and Lauren Hambrock preserved a 53-50 win for the Braves over the Knight.
Casey beats Terre Haute South with last-second layup
On many nights during this high school basketball season, the shots are going to fall for both Casey and Terre Haute South and both teams are going to look really good.
Tuesday was not one of those nights.
Former North Central inducted into Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
Thirteen men will become official members of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame when they are inducted into the Hoops Hall at the annual dinner in March.
Matchups set for wide-open Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic field
Sometimes the ping-pong balls used to draw the high school basketball pairings for the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic have a wisdom all their own, and that seemed to be the case Tuesday at Terre Haute North.
Metro sports: ISU women play today at No. 15 LSU
Indiana State’s women finish a three-game road swing by playing nationally ranked LSU at 12:30 p.m. today at Baton Rouge.
Tonight’s prep basketball
Casey at Terre Haute South
PREP ROUNDUP: North Central falls at home to Eastern Greene
Eastern Greene’s Camden Sego popped in 18 points to lead to a 67-42 home loss for North Central in SouthWestern Indiana Athletic Conference boys high school basketball Saturday night.
Bertoli runs personal-best time to qualify for Foot Locker national championships
Reigning IHSAA state champion Jackson Bertoli, a senior at Terre Haute South High School, accomplished a personal-best time of 15 minutes, 14 seconds as he finished fifth in the Foot Locker Midwest Regional Championships for cross country Saturday morning at Wayne E. Dannehl Course.
New excitement: Opportunity to swim in new pool in near future has Vigo County athletes ecstatic
As excited as Mike Williams is about the start of the Terre Haute North High School swim season today, he’s just as excited that one of its circumstances won’t have to be repeated a couple of years from now.
Prep/Metro roundup: Marshall girls pick up big wins at Robinson
Marshall’s Lions got a huge girls high school basketball victory Friday afternoon at the Robinson Thanksgiving Tournament, downing Mt. Carmel and 2013 Illinois Miss Basketball Tyra Buss 57-53.
Today’s Vigo County boys basketball game
Terre Haute North at Lebanon
West Vigo boys rally to pull out season-opening OT victory
A season-opening high school boys basketball game at West Vigo on Wednesday night was as much about when the players did things as it was what they did.
Visiting North Vermillion seemed to have a close game under control the entire way because every time the host team made a run, Falcon star Brayden Woodard was there to answer.
Although West Vigo was never ahead in the last 28 minutes of regulation time, the Vikings got a game-tying 3-pointer from Alec Blair with 6.3 seconds left and pulled out a 47-46 victory on Braiden Cardinal’s driving layup with 10 seconds left in overtime.
Clay City hits 13 first-half treys in downing Wildcats
Clay City junior Evan Rogers hit his first 3-pointer of the night 45 seconds into the season opener at South Vermillion.
By the time another 2 minutes, 15 seconds passed on the scoreboard, he had hit a fifth 3-pointer, putting his Eels ahead 17-2.
Heat check? That time had already passed.
Rogers hit a sixth 3-pointer to put the Eels up 25-4 then finally missed one with 2:20 on the first-quarter clock.
Prep basketball: Marshall preparing for Capital Classic
Marshall is one of the boys high school basketball teams that will compete in the Capital Classic to be played at Lawrenceville and Red Hill.
The Lions will play their preliminary games at Lawrenceville, meeting Mount Carmel and Lawrenceville today and Pinckneyville on Saturday.
O’Leary eyes return to Hulman Center
Former Terre Haute North standout Matt O’Leary is hoping to help Loyola Chicago coach Porter Moser turn the program into a new chapter of success in a new conference.
Preps: Turkey Run wins boys basketball opener
Austin Jones tallied 14 points for Turkey Run in a season-opening 77-62 home victory over Southmont in boys high school basketball Tuesday night.
Northview opens with tough loss to Vincennes Lincoln in boys basketball
Coaches learn more about their team playing quality opponents than a weak opponent.
That is why Northview coach Clint Weddle wasn’t down after Vincennes Lincoln defeated the Knights 69-55 in the opening game of the boys high school basketball season for both teams.
Prep preview: Knights more comfortable with Weddle
The Northview boys team is a year older, wiser and more adept with the basketball.
The Knights also are are more comfortable with what second-year coach Clint Weddle wants.
After an 8-15 season in his debut, Weddle is optimistic about contending for Western Indiana Conference and Class 3A sectional crowns in 2013-14.
- More High School Headlines
- West Vigo shows its youth in loss to Owen Valley