West Kentucky 14, Southern Illinois 12
By KEVIN WEAKS
Josh Forrest almost gained as many yards as the entire Southern Illinois team. It could certainly be argued that he beat the Southern team by himself.
Turning short passes into long touchdowns, Forrest had the big plays that led Western Kentucky to a 14-12 win in the two regions’ seventh annual high school football all-star game Friday night at Saluki Stadium on the Southern Illinois University campus in Carbondale.
Western has now won two in a row in the series and now trails the overall record 4-3.
Forrest, the former Paducah Tilghman standout and University of Kentucky signee, broke a scoreless deadlock just before halftime when he grabbed a Macoryon Tandy pass and then broke a tackle on his way to a 59-yard touchdown.
His second score covered even more ground when he turned a reception from Trigg County’s Andrew Stewart into an 83-yard foot race to the endzone on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Forrest finished with 145 yards on three catches, 22 yards less than seven ball-carriers, three quarterbacks and three receivers combined to total on 54 offensive snaps Southern Illinois.
Marc Wynstra, one of five members of the Mayfield senior class “Dream Team” that posted a 15-0 record and won the school’s eighth state championship back in December, booted two extra points.
Those proved to be vital, too, as Zach Crawford, one of six Graves County players included on the roster, sprinted around Southern’s left side to block an extra point attempt on the Illinois stars’ first touchdown. That key special teams play forced Southern to attempt a two-point conversion on its second touchdown, which came with just seven seconds to play in the game.
The run to the right side was stuffed by several Western players, preserving the two-point lead.
Forrest’s two TDs helped Western overcome inconsistent play on offense. The Kentucky stars gained 275 total yards to just 167 for Southern but lost a fumble and gave away an interception. Of Western’s 24 rushing attempts, which netted just 79 yards, eight were stopped for negative yardage.
Still, Western did enough things right, led by Forrest’s two scoring plays on third-down situations.
In addition to Forrest, Tandy, from Christian County, ran eight times out of the “Wildcat’ formation for 32 yards. And, Wynstra showed his legs were useful for more than just kicking when he took a punt fake 44 yards for a first down. It was the longest run of the game for either team and left Wynstra as, statistically, his team’s leading rusher.
It was a double-duty week for Wynstra and Cardinal teammate Taylor Sullivan, who will play in the KHSAA Baseball State Tournament on Monday afternoon. The Cardinals will play Owensboro Apollo 12:30 p.m. Central on Monday in Lexington.
Neither team managed much offense in the first half as Western gave up an interception on the play following Wynstra’s run while Southern punted five times and picked up only one first down, that coming via a Western penalty.
But, Forrest showed every one in attendance at the new home of SIU football — Saluki Stadium opened for the 2010 season —why he’s headed to Lexington on a scholarship by hauling in the Tandy pass on 3rd-and-5 and going 59 yards for the score with 25 seconds to play in the first half.
Southern looked poised to tie the game after opening the second half with a successful onside kick and then riding that momentum to the Western 22-yard line.
But, Deno Montgomery of Hopkinsville picked off a pass from Blake Deaton of Mt. Vernon in the endzone to end the threat.
Southern’s passing game was nearly non-existent much of the game as three quarterbacks combined to hit on just 7-of-23 passes. Montgomery’s catch was Deaton’s only completion in eight chances.
One Southern completion was a big one, though, as it put the Illinois prep stars in position to tie the game.
That came at the end of an exciting fourth quarter that saw Western get its second score only to see Southern rally with two TDs of its own.
Another 3rd-down play, this one 3rd-and-11 from Western’s own 17, led to another big play from Forrest as he covered most of the 83 yards on the ground after catching a pass from Stewart with 11:01 to play in the game.
Southern jumped on the shoulders of Logan Rogers for its first score as Rogers carried six straight times and scored on an 8-yard run with 4:16 to play in the game.
The score stayed at 14-6, however, when Crawford made the big special teams play to block the extra point kick.
Despite a couple of sacks on QB Brady Harre, the Kentucky stars could not keep Southern out of the endzone in the final seconds as Harre found Gannon Mammel for a 37-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds left in the game.
A tie was not in the cards, though, when Rogers was stood up and stopped trying to take a 2-point conversion to the right side.
Forrest was named the Bob Karnes Offensive Most Valuable Player.
WESTERN KENTUCKY 0 7 0 7 — 14
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 0 0 0 12 — 12
W Ky — Josh Forrest 59 pass from Macoryon Tandy (Wynstra kick). 0:25
W Ky — Forrest 83 pass from Andrew Stewart (Wynstra kick). 11:01
So Ill — Logan Rogers 8 run (kick blocked). 4:16
So Ill — Gannon Mammel 37 pass from Brady Harre (run failed). 0:07
W Ky So Ill
First Downs 8 11
Total Offense 275 167
Rushing 79 91
Passing 196 76
RUSHING: Western Kentucky — Marc Wynstra 1-44, Macoryon Tandy 6-32, Brandon Sigler 8-15, Matt Deese 2-9, Dejuan Edmonds 1-4, Devin Foster 1-4, Andrew Stewart 5-(-27). Southern Illinois — Logan Rogers 15-64, Cameron Williams 6-17, Blake Deaton 1-12, Neil Kellerman 2-4, Taylor Fitzgerald 2-4, Gannon Mammel 1-2, Brady Harre 4-(-12).
PASSING: Western Kentucky — Andrew Stewart 7-14-1—137, Macoryon Tandy 1-2-0—59. Southern Illinois — Brady Harre 6-11-0—69, Adam Irvin 1-4-0—7, Blake Deaton 0-8-1—0.
RECEIVING: Western Kentucky — Josh Forrest 3-145, Alex Hill 2-13, Blake Clark 1-18, Macoryon Tandy 1-15, Brandon Sigler 1-5. Southern Illinois — Gannon Mammel 4-61, Nathan Butler 2-13, Craig Dalman 1-2.