The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 22, 2013

Gold's fourth-down gambles set tone in 8-man football all-star game

By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer

COMMERCE, Okla. — When it’s an all-star game, there’s nothing wrong with taking some risks.

The Gold team entered the Oklahoma Eight Man Football Coaches Association All-Star Game with that theory in mind.

Gold opted to go for it on fourth down five times in its opening possession, converting all five on a 73-yard drive that lasted more than 11 minutes. The drive set the tone as the Gold beat the Green squad 28-20 on Saturday night at Commerce High School’s Tiger Field.

“You might as well go for it,” said Bluejacket running back Dylan Anderson, who led the Gold rushing attack with 93 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. “Setting the tone is a big deal. Whether it be on offense or defense, you got to set the tone.”

The Green opened the game with a 61-yard scoring drive that ended with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Davenport’s Matt Miller to Davenport’s Kevin Thomas for a 7-0 lead.

The Gold all-stars then started a 20-play drive from its own 27-yard-line, needing all four downs to move the chains each time.

Pond Creek Hunter’s Brady Krittenbrink converted a fourth-and-1 from the Gold 36 with a five-yard run.

Facing a fourth-and-3 from its own 48, the Gold faked a punt and Deer Creek Lamont’s Jace Whitehead ran seven yards for a first down.

Three plays later, Kittenbrink converted a fourth-and-2 from the 37 with a three-yard run.

The Gold looked to Kittenbrink again as it faced a fourth-and-9 from the 33. Quarterback Dalton Lemieux, of Forgan, found Kittenbrink on a 25-yard pass play.

On fourth-and-goal from the 2, Garber’s Jordan Avants gave Gold its first touchdown. Kittenbrink followed with a 2-point conversion run to give Gold an 8-7 lead. Gold gained possession with 10:49 left in the first quarter and scored at the 11:17 mark of the second.

Gold scored 22 points in the second quarter.

Kittenbrink earned offensive MVP honors for the Gold with 51 rushing yards, 105 receiving yards and a touchdown and 16 passing yards and a touchdown. Laverne’s Gage Murphy, who had a key interception, earned the defensive MVP honors for the Gold.

Wetumka’s Derrick Moore and Sasakwa’s Trevor Morris won respective offensive and defensive MVPs for the Green.

Anderson, who is set to play at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan., reached the end zone on a 24-yard run in the third quarter for the Gold’s only touchdown of the second half.

“I started off bad in the first half,” Anderson said. “But I got into my groove in the second half and had some good runs.”

Other area players for the Gold included Welch’s Logan Bruce and South Coffeyville’s Zach Cantrell.

The annual all-star game, which is typically played in Miami, was moved to Commerce this year because of renovation work at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M’s field.