INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Many of Indiana’s best high school football players from the class of 2014 battled in the 48th annual Grange Insurance All-Star Classic at North Central High School Friday, and on a fall-like night, it was the South that shined.
The South team earned its fourth straight win over the North, 30-2. They now lead the series 27-21.
Southport alum Christian Perry led the South with 131 yards on 24 carries. He scored a touchdown and was named the game’s MVP.
“We wanted to run violently against them,” Perry said. “Honestly we don’t like (the North), and they were talking trash.”
South coach Jake Gilbert from Westfield High School called Perry a ‘monster’ and said he was impressed with the way he ran hard. But Gilbert quickly credited the offensive line for opening up holes.
“We worked hard. This was not Club Med,” Gilbert said. “We worked these guys and wanted to win the game.”
While running may have been the game plan, the passing game got the scoring underway.
Cardinal Ritter alum Jake Purichia threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Avon graduate Cress Kimbrough. Then on the subsequent North drive, former Perry Central standout Austin Leclere returned an interception from Lafayette Central Catholic alum Ty Preston for a touchdown.
“I think our guys were ready to play,” Gilbert said. “A lot of bottled up enthusiasm after a long week. I was impressed the way we started.”
Brandon Dowers, a Brownsburg graduate kicked a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter to give the South a 16-0 lead.
North broke the shutout with its lone score of the night when former Fort Wayne Snider defensive end Donavin O’Day tackled New Albany alum Tuwan Payton for the safety late in the first half.
“It was a down block, so I shuffled down the line,” O’Day said. “The running back had to cut back, and I was there to make an open field tackle.”
O’Day finished with nine tackles — two for a loss.
The designated home team held its northern counterparts to just 19 first-half yards and forced four three-and-outs.
“Just play physical,” Gilbert said of his defensive game plan. “We didn’t overcomplicate it. We just want to let them fly around. They made this game for a reason and (we) didn’t want to get in the way of them being playmakers.”
Indiana’s all-time leading rusher Sammy Mireles managed a mere 28 yards to lead the North’s ground attack. The Elwood graduate also tallied seven yards receiving, the second most behind former Hobart wideout Nick Bokun’s 12.
The North finished with just 87 total yards and six first downs, compared with the South’s 386 yards and 20 first downs.
Nick Ferrer, former Westfield quarterback, and Purichia combined to throw for 193 on 14-of-23 passing, and each threw for a touchdown.
Former Winamac linebacker Tyler Katschke recorded eight tackles, 1.5 for a loss, and earned the North team’s player of the game.
Each player’s helmet was outfitted with a Brain Sentry impact sensor. The devise detects impacts to the head that may result in a concussion. The sensor’s LED light will change from green to red when an impact was detected and the player should be evaluated. There were no reported device activations during the game.