Local gridders go out winners
West All-Stars prevail in Grin Iron Classic, 7-6
For Cassville’s Devin Phelps and Gilbert Medina, Friday night’s 7-6 victory in the 16th annual Sertoma Grin Iron Classic was a sweet end to a great high school career.
The game was anything but an offensive highlight reel, but it was about friendship and the joy of playing just one more time.
“Tonight was a lot of fun,” Phelps said. “You get to know these guys that you’ve only watched film on. This game is special. You’re playing with the same caliber of players on both sides of the ball, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Medina did his best to soak up the atmosphere.
“This was a lot different feeling tonight [than a normal game],” Medina said. “You want to hang onto the memories and the friends that you just made. This was an awesome feeling.”
Monett quarterback Ian Meyer guided the West All-Stars to their lone touchdown, with Nixa’s Nicos Oropeza scampering in from 15 yards out.
However, the play and scoring did have Barry County fingerprints all over the place.
Besides Meyer being the quarterback, Monett’s Kurran Bartkoski and Phelps opened the hole, with Pierce City’s Jordan Cruz sealing the cutback lane for Oropeza’s score.
Monett’s kicker Cameron Cody toed the extra point that turned out to be the game winner.
The East scored with 5.3 seconds left in the second quarter when Mountain View-Liberty quarterback Josh Pruett hit Camdenton tight end Parker Stidham for a 4-yard score. The ensuing extra point was unsuccessful.
The score would remain 7-6 the rest of the way.
The West improved its all-time record to 14-2, including a 27-0 victory in 2015 and a 16-15 victory in 2016.
West MVP awards went to Oropeza for offense and Jokiem Crawford (Joplin) for defense.