East takes Sertoma victory
The intensity was remarkable during the 18th annual Sertoma Classic All-Star football game Friday at Reed High in Sparks.
Players – most of whom had known their teammates for only five days – spent the night trying to motivate each other on the sidelines when they weren’t on the field trying to crack someone’s skull.
And that emotional commitment made the final outcome even more difficult to accept for Douglas High representatives Garrett Anderson, Joel Kruger and Matt Tretton, whose West team lost to the East, 17-14, in overtime.
“Everybody knows I hate losing,” Kruger said after the game, as his 44 West teammates milled around trading handshakes and half-hearted pops on the shoulder pads. “But it was good for all of us. It was great coming out here and playing with all these great athletes. It was a blast.
“Somebody has to lose. Unfortunately, it swung our way.”
And it did so in a most unkind fashion.
The East tied the game, 14-14, with just over five minutes to play. On the ensuing kickoff, Bishop Manogue’s Dustin Garcia -all 5-foot-9, 150 pounds of him – returned the ball 40 yards to midfield.
The West then started what looked like it was going to be a game-winning drive.
Truckee quarterback Chris Gerdin completed key third-down passes to Dayton’s Justin Cooper and Hug’s Matt Davidson as the West moved to the East 26-yard line.
South Tahoe’s Bryan Marino couldn’t handle a pitch from Gerdin on first down, however. The West defense recovered the fumble with 1:20 remaining, and ran out the clock to force overtime.
Each team was given a four-down possession from the opponent’s 10-yard line in overtime.
Fernley’s Dan Ponder kicked a 32-yard field goal to end the East’s first OT possession.
The East defense then secured the victory by blocking a 33-yard field-goal attempt off the foot of McQueen’s Derek Jones, who missed kicks from 54, 37 and 52 yards as well as a PAT in regulation.
The West took a 6-0 lead on a 25-yard touchdown strike from McQueen’s Matt Gotta to Tonopah’s Justin Zane.
Carson’s David Krueger was the only player to get a nickname from the public address announcer before the game, and he certainly lived up to it.
The Senator star, who was introduced with “From CarsonThe Big GuyNumber 22David Krueger,” played a huge role in the victory.
Krueger rushed 10 times for 26 yards against a swarming West defense led by linebackers Anderson and Kruger. He also caught five passes for 106 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown toss from Elko’s Jarrod Mossier that gave the East a 7-6 lead with 35 seconds to play in the first half.
Krueger earned the East team’s Offensive Most Valuable Player award in voting conducted by Northern Nevada sportswriters.
Krueger, who defended his state championship in the 110-meter high hurdles this spring, said running track kept him in shape for the All-Star game.
“I really didn’t feel like I was out of breath one time,” he said.
Mossier, who spent most of his time on the sidelines thanking his teammates for great blocks and great catches, earned the game’s MVP award. He was just as gracious after picking up the big trophy.
“It wasn’t me,” he said. “I just threw the ball and Krueger caught it and ran with it. And the line did a hell of a job. I’m just honored to get the award.”
Mossier hit Krueger for a 26-yard gain one play before the two hooked up for the first touchdown. The Elko quarterback lofted the TD pass to Krueger, who had to wait for the ball before catching it and breaking a tackle at the goal line.
“I hate those kinds of passes,” Krueger said. “I had about 10 seconds to watch the ball and think ‘Don’t screw it up for everybody.'”
The West made it 14-7 early in the third quarter on a 25-yard screen pass from Gerdin to Garcia, the speedy receiver from Bishop Manogue, and a two-point run by Truckee’s Jeff Andrs.
The East tied the game on a 1-yard plunge by Keith Lawson of Mineral County.
Gerdin picked up the Offensive MVP award for the West side, while Reno High’s Breck Dolen was voted the team’s Defensive MVP.
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