By Ron Rop
Thunder, lightning and a heavy downpour could not even put a damper on Saturday’s first Muskegon All-Star Classic football game at Mona Shores High School.
It did cause a 90-minute delay to the start the game, but that was about it as players, coaching and spectators enjoyed the competitiveness of the contest.
And when Ludington’s Tyler Morin split the uprights on a 27-yard field goal in overtime, the Dynasty team defeated the Legends team 17-14.
The game attracted about 700 spectators to a game organized by former Orchard View player Nick VandenBosch and Oakridge’s Terrence Williams.
“This gave 70 kids the chance to play one more game,” Legend coach Steve Wilson said. “And it was outstanding for me. I met some great kids.”
A total of 24 high schools were represented by the teams. In some cases, teammates during the prep season were on opposite teams.
“This was a great event and it’s only going to get better,” said Joe Coletta, the coach of the winning Dynasty team. “The kids had no idea what it would be like … there was no credibility to it yet.
“They went on what the coaches told them,” Coletta said. “We told them it would be a special day and it was. They were all in.”
The first half was dominated by defense with the only score coming on an interception in the end zone by Whitehall’s Logan Potter. Legend quarterback Scott Staal felt heavy pressure while trying to pass out of his own end zone.
His pass was tipped by North Muskegon’s Chase Raymond. A diving Potter grabbed the ball for the first six points of the game. Morin added the extra point.
The Legend team pulled back to within a point near the midpoint of the third quarter when Staal found high school teammate Danny Cotter for 9-yard touchdown pass. The kick sailed wide.
The Legend team used that momentum to score the game’s next touchdown.
Spring Lake’s Keegan Wolter hooked up with Grand Haven’s Matt Kroll on a 45-yard touchdown strike. This time, the Legends went for the 2-point conversion to tie the game. Staal hooked up with Potter in the front corner of the end zone and the game was tied.
Both teams threatened, but could not score. That signaled overtime.
The Legend team went first with four downs from its own 10. On third down, Hart’s Michael Vella picked off a pass to end the possession.
Coletta opted to send out Morin without running a play from scrimmage and the senior from Ludington bombed his kick through the uprights.
Coletta said he and Morin had talked about such a scenario this past week in practice.l
* Seven scholarships were awarded to players from both teams following the game. Categories included two leadership awards, a physician award, lawyer award, community involvement, overcoming hardship and a need based scholarship.
* “MAC (Muskegon All-Star Classic) is back next year,” VandenBosch proclaimed following the game. “We’ve had great support from the community and a lot of sponsors.”