Special Thanks To The Hutchinson News
Written By Vance Janek
BELOIT — The debate at halftime of the Eight-Man Division II All-Star in the East Squad locker room was who was going to start the third quarter at quarterback.
Former Quivira Heights signal caller Gunner Phelan guided the East to two first-quarter scores. Then Hanover’s Austin Steinfort took over in the second quarter, also leading the East to two touchdowns that kept the West down by two scores.
“They really couldn’t decide,” Wilson tight end Kenny Steinle said. “Coach (John) Phelan wanted Gunner to go out just because he knows the offense more. He wanted to get up on them early again.”
East coach Daymon Walker picked Phelan. Four records later, the East celebrated a 74-30 whooping of the West at Trojan Stadium on Saturday morning.
The East team ended each practice leading up to Saturday’s game by huddling. Each huddle ended with the team saying “62.” That signifies the number of points the team was looking to score to break the Division II record.
“At the beginning of this,” Phelan said, “our coaches told us that the record was 61 so we decided we want to go after it. To put up 74, we got our goal.”
Phelan and Hanover receiver Connor Hynek also put themselves in the record books. Phelan completed 23 of 36 passes for 346 yards and six touchdowns while Hanover receiver Conner Hynek hauled in 13 receptions for 144 yards and three scores.
“We have a lot of athletes in the open,” Phelan said. “We just got them the ball and let them make plays. They’re all really fast, and you can hit them on a short route, and they can turn it into a big gain.”
The 6-foot-3 Hynek proved to be a big target that both quarterbacks looked to find. “Me and Austin and Gunner and I had good chemistry all week,” Hynek said. “Gunner told me he was going to throw it and just to go get it.”
The West struggled to slow the East’s offense, which derived from Quivira Heights’ scheme. “They had crossing routes on the field, and they were picking us apart,” West coach Travis Starr said. “We had to turn up the heat on Phelan. We did that but they continued to make plays. They were putting it on the money, and they were catching it. They were clicking today.”
The East scored the game’s first 16 points, then saw the West answer with 16 of its own. But the East took control by scoring the final 14 points of the second quarter, and then the 22 straight in the third.
From the 5:03 mark of the second quarter to the end of the game, the East outscored the West 58-14.
Phelan got the record-breaking day going by finding Steinle for a 51-yard touchdown with 8:05 remaining in the first quarter. Hope’s Tyler Mudd added a 14-yard touchdown run. Then the West answered, getting a 23-yard touchdown run by Ashland’s Ervin Swonger before Caleb Keltz had a 3-yard touchdown run with 9:20.
Steinfort then put the East up for good, taking the ball in from 6 yards out and hooking up with Hynek on the final play of the half.
Then it was all Phelan. The 6-foot, 170-pounder hooked up with Axtell’s Tyler Heiman for a 25-yard touchdown. It was Heiman with a 45-yard catch-and-run touchdown that was made possible by a nice down field block by Steinle. Phelan found Hynek for a 23-yard score in the left side of the end zone to make it 52-16 with 1:53 to play in the third. Swonger broke up the East scoring run with a 50-yard catch-and-run. The West got its final touchdown when Ben Fox of Ashland took an option pitch in for a 35-yard touchdown.
Phelan ended his impressive day by finding Hynek for a 16-yard touchdown while Waverly’s Travis Sipe hauled in a 4-yard touchdown reception. The East got its final touchdown on an 8-yard run by Caldwell’s Alex Davis.
Most Points by a Winning 8-Man All-Star Team: 74 by DII East
Most Points scored combined by two Teams: 104
Widest Margin of Victory: 44 by DII East
Most Total Yards: 622 by DII East
Most Passing Yards: 448 by DII East
Most Receptions in an 8-Man All-Star Game: Conner Hynek of Hanover with 13
Longest Punt: Riley Spresser of Golden Plains 61 yards
Most Touchdown Passes: Gunner Phelan of Quivira Heights with 6
EAST 74, WEST 30
E / W
Rushes-yards 40-174 / 38-209
Passing yards 448 / 82
Comp-Att-Int 28-46-1 / 5-11-0
Total plays-yards 86-622 / 49-291
Penalties-yards 3-30 / 4-35
RUSHING—:East: Heiman 12-92, Davis 9-52, Mudd 8-29, Steinfort 4-8, Sipe 3-7, Phelan 4-(-14).
West: Root 9-64, Swonger 8-62, Fox 5-48, Keltz 7-20, Kerschen 6-8, Hlavaty 1-7, Spresser 2-0.
PASSING— East: Phelan 23-36-1-346, Steinfort 7-10-0-102.
West: Spresser 3-5-0-57, Keltz 2-6-0-25.
RECEIVING—East: Heiman 10-167, Hynek 13-144, Steinle 5-133, Sipe 1-4, Creed 1-0.
West: Swonger 1-50, Laffrey 1-20, Trapp 2-12.
EAST 74, WEST 30
East 16 14 22 22 — 74
West 0 16 0 6 — 30
E—Steinle 51 pass from Phelan (Mudd run), 8:05
E—Mudd 14 run (Hynek pass from Phelan), 4:34
W—Swonger 23 run (Trapp pass from Spresser), 11:53
W—Kuhn 3 run (Laffery pass from Keltz), 9:20
E—Steinfort 6 run (run failed), 5:03
E—Hynek 5 pass from Steinfort (Heiman pass from Steinfort), 0:00
E—Heiman 25 pass from Phelan (Hynek pass from Phelan), 10:40
E—Heiman 45 pass from Phelan (pass failed), 8:09
E—Hynek 23 pass from Phelan (Hynek pass from Phelan), 1:53
W—Swonger 50 pass from Spresser (run failed), 1:02
W—Fox 35 run (Hlavaty run), 9:39
E—Hynek 16 pass from Phelan (Heiman run), 8:31
E—Sipe 4 pass from Phelan (Hynek pass from Phelan), 4:19
E—Davis 8 run (run failed), 1:55