2015-06-30 / Front Page

Patriot, Clover All-Stars Help Lead Gold Team To 24-21 Win In 11th Annual WVFCA All-Star Game

by Brent Ranard
for The Hoosier Topics


Area representatives competing in the 2015 Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association (WVFCA) All-Star game from the Gold squad were, left to right, assistant coach Duane Potts (Owen Valley), Seth Sparks (Owen Valley), Evan Wood (Owen Valley), Landon DeFord (Owen Valley), Tyler Lotz (Cloverdale), and Ethan Boyd (Cloverdale). (Photo by Brent Ranard) Area representatives competing in the 2015 Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association (WVFCA) All-Star game from the Gold squad were, left to right, assistant coach Duane Potts (Owen Valley), Seth Sparks (Owen Valley), Evan Wood (Owen Valley), Landon DeFord (Owen Valley), Tyler Lotz (Cloverdale), and Ethan Boyd (Cloverdale). (Photo by Brent Ranard) The 11th annual Wabash Valley Football Coaches Association (WVFCA) All-Star game was played last Saturday night at Indiana State University’s Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute.

This year’s contest proved to be one of the most exciting games in the history of the event. The all-stars are broken up into two squads designated as the Black and the Gold teams. The Gold team, which featured players from Owen Valley and Cloverdale high schools, led most of the game and clung to a 17-14 advantage heading into the final 4:00 of the game. One of those touchdowns was a 27-yard reception by Ethan Lee (North Vermillion) thrown by Owen Valley quarterback Evan Wood. The Black squad was able to score on a touchdown pass of 24 yards from Timmy Herrin (Terre Haute South) to Nate Tesmer (Greencastle) to take its first lead with 3:10 to play in the contest.


Cloverdale’s Tyler Lotz (left) battles with a Black team player Saturday night. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Cloverdale’s Tyler Lotz (left) battles with a Black team player Saturday night. (Photo by Brent Ranard) The Gold team, led by head coach Brian Crabtree of North Vermillion, refused to lose the game. They started on their own 17-yard line and drove the length of the field. Facing a first and goal at the six-yard line with 30 seconds to go, the Gold squad went to a power formation and handed the ball to 295-pound Landon DeFord (Owen Valley). DeFord made a nice effort but was stopped short of the goal line. The Gold squad called a time-out and set up a trick play to win the game. Ben Cunningham (Rockville) took the hand-off on a sweep to the right but pulled up and hit fellow Rox teammate Isaiah Thurman in the back right corner of the end zone to seal the victory.


Cloverdale’s Ethan Boyd (#10) takes a hand off from Evan Wood (Owen Valley) in the second quarter. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Cloverdale’s Ethan Boyd (#10) takes a hand off from Evan Wood (Owen Valley) in the second quarter. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Owen Valley head coach Duane Potts was named an assistant coach for the Gold team and summed up the experience for the players by saying, “The Wabash Valley All-Star game is a great opportunity for great players from schools to come together and play one last high school football game. Other than the North-South game it is the only game of its type in the state. Players get to keep their jersey and are presented a commemorative watch at the all-star banquet at the Hulman Center. It is truly a special week and one in which the kids will remember for a long time.”

Potts went on to praise the play of his players by saying, “The Owen Valley guys all played really well. Evan (Wood) threw one of our touchdown passes to Ethan Lee from North Vermillion High School. Seth (Sparks) played very well at safety and ran the defensive backfield. Landon (De- Ford) had several tackles including a couple for a loss, and he also carried the ball a couple of times.”


Cloverdale’s Tyler Lotz takes a well-deserved hydration break on the sideline. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Cloverdale’s Tyler Lotz takes a well-deserved hydration break on the sideline. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Wood finished the night 2-for-2 for 32 yards and the one touchdown. He also carried the ball three times for 10 yards. DeFord had two big sacks and several tackles as well as two carries for eight yards from the power formation. Sparks played nearly every down at safety and was elected as a captain by the players. He also received the Coaches Selection scholarship worth $500.

The Cloverdale Clovers were well represented by lineman Tyler Lotz and running back Ethan Boyd. Lotz played nearly every snap at right tackle and provide good run blocking and pass protection. He had a key block on a screen pass in the second quarter and could be heard yelling “love those screen passes” as he ran off the field. Boyd had one carry for one yard on the night and had a couple good lead blocks from his running back position.

Cloverdale head coach Jarrod Duff was able to watch the game from the stands and liked what he saw from his players: “I am extremely proud of how Lotz and Boyd represented Cloverdale football in the all-star game. I hope they know how proud of them I am for their contributions to the Clover football program during their high school careers. Most importantly, I hope they know how proud I am of the type of men they are. It’s been my privilege and honor to coach them and to be a part of their lives over the last two years. They both have great things ahead of them in the future.”

Coach Potts summed up his personal feelings about coaching in the game by adding, “This was my third time coaching in the game. I feel like I definitely appreciated the game this year more than ever. After being sick for a little while I felt really blessed to be able to be in a game with Evan, Seth, and Landon one more time. We have been a part of each other’s lives for such a long time and I will miss competing with them. It was really special to end with a win. It was a great game to watch. I appreciate all of the support that our players received throughout the week and hopefully next June people will take the opportunity to go watch some more of our athletes compete in the all-star game.”

The WVFCA was founded in February of 2003. At the onset 22 schools formed the original group. Since that time, 12 new schools have been added. The focus of the group is to promote football and football-related activities. Each year, the WVFCA hosts several skill camps for athletes grade school through high school and conducts clinics for coaches and volunteers. An annual meeting is also held where an All-Wabash Valley team is selected and recognition is given for not only athletic accomplishment but also academic success. The organization’s largest event is the annual WVFCA All-Star game, played the last weekend in June and featuring players from each of the participating schools. The event also provides revenue to support the other aspects of the WVFCA. Each year, over $4,000 in scholarships are awarded to athletes competing in the game. Since the first game in 2004, over $50,000 in college scholarships have been awarded.

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