CEDAR FALLS - Most all-star games feature lots of points, plenty of offensive standouts and timid tacklers trying not to get hurt.
Saturday's 2013 Iowa Shrine All Star Football Classic at the UNI-Dome was anything but timid, and for the most part, the defenses stood tall.
The South defense was better though as it forced eight turnovers and held the North all-stars to just 203 total yards in a 28-0 victory in the 41st edition of the event.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Marshalltown’s Tyler Kluver claps his hands after the South squad made another big defensive play during the 41st Annual Iowa Shrine All Star Football Classic on Saturday at the UNI-Dome. Kluver, who will play at Iowa in college, started at linebacker and handled the long snapping duties for the South, which won the game 28-0.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
West Marshall offensive lineman Colby Dunn, left, blocks Colton Hageman (22) of South Winneshiek during the 41st annual Iowa Shrine All Star Football Classic Saturday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Grundy Center’s Dylan Lyman, right, stiff-arms Aaron Crossett of Knoxville on his way to a 10-yard reception in the second quarter.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
Kyle Stephenson of South Tama, right, prevents a North defender from getting in on the play during the first quarter.
"We needed to be tough and physical and make good things happen for us to help with field position and we did that," Dowling Catholic and South coach Tom Wilson said of the defensive effort. "We just wanted to establish a level of toughness. We were tough and physical this week."
Six of the eight turnovers the South squad forced were interceptions, and five came against Class 4A second team all-state quarterback Reggie Schulte. The biggest pick was hauled in by Iowa City West's Ezra Reiners as he began the second half with a 35-yard interception return for a score that effectively sealed the victory for the South.
"It is pretty important," said Marshalltown senior Tyler Kluver. "Most of this is for the kids and for the fun of playing, but you still want to win the game. To look up and see 28-0 is great. We felt we worked harder and took things more seriously this week and to see it pay off in the end is a great feeling.
Iowa Shrine All-Star Football Classic
At Cedar Falls
South All-Stars 28, North All-Stars 0
South - Randy Schmidt 9 pass to Clint Boffeli (Jordan Sexton kick), 12:34.
South - Jace Hanna 32 pass to Sam Markham (Sexton kick), 9:23.
South - Ezra Reiners 35 interception return (Sexton kick), 13:34
South - Hanna 32 pass to Boffeli (Sexton kick), 12:52.
"It was great to end my high school career at the UNI-Dome and the win makes it even better."
Kluver played linebacker and was the long snapper for the South squad, while South Tama County running back Kyle Stephenson and West Marshall lineman Colby Dunn also were a part of the winning team.
Grundy Center's Dylan Lyman was the fourth area athlete in the game. Lyman played wide receiver for the North squad and had a pair of catches for 32 yards.
North Scott quarterback Randy Schmidt completed 8-of-13 through the air for 158 yards for the South, while Jace Hanna added two passing touchdowns in the victory. Schmidt will play football at Northwest Missouri State next year, while Hanna will play basketball at Upper Iowa.
The biggest contributors in the passing game were West Des Moines Valley's Clint Boffeli, who was named the South Offensive MVP after hauling in four catches for 54 yards and two scores, and Matthew Haack of Dowling Catholic.
Haack, who will punt and potentially play wideout for Arizona State this season, finished with 114 receiving yards and began the game with a 60-yard reception on the first play from scrimmage.
"Our strength was with our receivers, and we knew that coming in," Wilson said. "I thought it was going to be tough to run the ball with any regularity. When we did run the ball, a lineman would jump and put us in first, second or third and long. I would have liked to have run the ball more though."
Neither team established much of a running game. The South ran it 31 times and gained just 11 yards, while the North wasn't much better with 85 rushing yards.
The biggest reason for the South squad's dominance on defense was due to an aggressive and overpowering defensive line that featured future Iowa Hawkeye Corbin Blythe of Williamsburg, Southeast Polk's Luke Sargent, Urbandale's Shaq Wells, Newton's Derrick Hurt and Carroll's Jose Zambrano. Wells ended up earning MVP honors after recording several tackles for loss and a few sacks.
It was not a good day for Schulte, who was playing at the UNI-Dome for the first time since the Class 4A state championship game against Ankeny. Schulte also will play his home games there in the future as he is headed to Northern Iowa in a few weeks. The future Panther though was just 10-of-26 for 106 yards and five interceptions against the South defense.
He was overshadowed by Schmidt and Hanna, who controlled the game through the air and made zero mistakes on the offensive end. The South squad turned it over just once in the game.
Boone Myers had two first-half sacks to lead the North defense. He was all over the field in the game and was rewarded with North Defensive MVP honors. Dike-New Hartford's Terry Mooty was the North Offensive MVP after leading the squad on the ground. Tyler Odneal of Wapsie Valley also had five catches for 30 yards on offense.
Boffeli, who will play wide receiver at Iowa Western Community College, got the scoring started with a 9-yard touchdown catch from Schmidt in the first quarter. Hanna then found Ames' Sam Markham for a 32-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Hanna finished the scoring with a 32-yard touchdown strike to Boffeli early in the fourth quarter to make it 28-0.
Jordan Sexton made all four of his extra points as the South kicker, while Brett Cochran-Bray missed 42-yard and 31-yard field goal attempts to keep the shutout alive for the South squad.
Tyler Kluver, Marshalltown
Kluver has had quite the senior year with the Bobcats advancing to another postseason and then also playing in the Under Armour All-Star Game as well as the Shrine Bowl game this weekend.
Kluver played two full quarters as a linebacker and handled all of the long snapping duties for the victorious South squad. He was in on several tackles and helped play a role in recording a shutout over the North squad.
"It was pretty similar to the Under Armour week," Kluver said. "I had a lot of fun. I made a lot of new relationships and met some people I will be friends for a long time. And you get to play football and that's pretty fun too."
Kluver got to play with and against several of his future teammates at Iowa, including Bo Bower of West Branch and Blythe on the South squad and Ike Boettger of Cedar Falls, Trev Hadachek of Union Community and Andrew Wellik of Emmetsburg of the North squad.
Kluver leaves for Iowa on Saturday. But he wasn't worried about getting hurt in the game. Neither were any of his teammates.
"You don't want to get hurt but most of these guys are pretty good athletes and well built," said Kluver, who will most likely redshirt this upcoming season. "Most of the guys haven't gotten hurt before. People know how to play smart and there wasn't a lot of dirty play."
Kluver's favorite part of the week aside from playing in the game was playing with the Shriner Hospital kids on the UNI-Dome turf on Friday.
"As we get older, we will realize that it is better to serve than to be served," he said. "This week was all about the kids."
Kluver will shift his focus to long snapping at Iowa. He will redshirt this season as he waits his turn behind starter Casey Kreiter.
"Kluver has a great personality. He is an excellent long snapper and has a bright future as a long snapper," Wilson said.
Kyle Stephenson, STC
The future Iowa Western running back was not as involved in the game as he would have liked to have been.
Rushing yards were hard to come by, but the former South Tama County running back who led all of Class 3A in rushing yards this past season did make one catch for 11 yards in the first quarter.
"He is what I thought he was - he's a tough, blue-collar kid," said Wilson. "You can win a lot of games with a guy like Kyle Stephenson."
Stephenson's week with the rest of the football players included lots of two-a-day practices, a movie night, a day at a waterpark, dinner at the Rotary Reserve and a dance with the Shrine game cheerleaders.
"It's been an awesome week," Stephenson said. "We got to hang with some pretty cool kids and that is what this is about. Seeing them puts things into perspective. They can't do everything, and they are still happy. We can do everything and should be happy."
Stephenson will report to Iowa Western Community College on Monday and Reiver football camp starts Thursday. But he wasn't too concerned with injuries in the game Saturday.
"I didn't really think about showing up healthy," said Stephenson, whose favorite moment also was playing with the Shriner kids on the turf Friday. "I just do what I usually do. It would have been cool to get the ball more. Things just didn't work out for me today. It was still an awesome week though.
Dylan Lyman, Grundy Center
The former Grundy Center all-stater played wide receiver for the first time in his career during Shriner week. He played running back and defensive back for the Spartans and plans on staying on the defensive side of the ball when he walks on to the Iowa State football program this fall.
"It was tough to get used to at first," Lyman said of playing wide receiver for the North squad. "I didn't know how to run a route, never had to get off a jam but I adapted. I was decent at it eventually."
Lyman played most of his snaps in the second and fourth quarters. He hauled in a 22-yard catch in the second quarter and then converted his second catch into a first down in the fourth quarter.
"It was a way fun week. It was a good experience," said Lyman, who most enjoyed playing with the Shriner kids on Friday. "I met some new guys and got to know some of the guys that will be coming to Iowa State with me."
Lyman will get to Iowa State on August 26. The preferred walk-on Cyclone will not attend training camp but still tried not to put himself into any danger during the game Saturday.
"It was tough. You just had to know your limits," said Lyman when asked how hard it was to balance playing hard enough to win with trying not to get hurt. "It was a struggle. We went pretty hard regardless though."
Colby Dunn, West Marshall
The former West Marshall all-stater saw action on the offensive line during the second and fourth quarters for the winning South squad.
He joins a long string of Trojans to play in the Shrine Bowl game and also followed in the footsteps of his father Mark, who also played in the game.
"It's an honor. It runs in the family and we are on a five-year run at West Marshall right now, too," said Dunn, who will play football at Drake University. "It's tradition for sure."
Dunn said the South squad seemed to want to win more, spending every practice in full pads while the North squad was only in full pads half the time.
"We busted our butts this week and you could tell," Dunn said. "It was a great experience with some great coaches and some great players."
Dunn reports to Drake football camp on Aug. 4. After originally committing to the Bulldogs as a defensive lineman, Dunn said his role will likely change when he hits campus.
"They moved me to the offensive line right away because they need help on the OL," Dunn said. "I was trying to keep my knees safe because my braces are at Drake right now. But I just wanted to play. I love football and I would have a year to recover anyway because I wll likely redshirt my first year."
Wilson only gets a week with the players on his South squad, but he agreed with Dunn about redshirting in his first season.
"I can see him doing well at Drake," Wilson said. "He needs to get bigger, but I think he will be an excellent lineman before he is done there."