INDIANAPOLIS — In the 2019 Indiana Football Coaches Association North-South All-Star Classic, two players with area ties chipped in defensively for the South team as they tried to end a five-year North winning streak.
They came so close.
The North scored with less than two minutes remaining for a come-from-behind 25-24 win in the final high school game for about 100 Indiana high school football players.
The biggest highlight of the first half for the South squad came on the defensive side of the ball, and it came from a player headed to the area.
Future Anderson University Raven Trevor Larence gave his side its first lead of the night with a 72-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the first quarter.
"I was definitely excited and I knew I was going to score," Larence said. "I had my teammate right there beside me, he was making sure nobody got to me."
Larence played his high school ball at Whiteland and expects to play cornerback for the Ravens.
"I'm that player that's always trying my hardest and going full speed to the ball no matter what," Larence said.
Shenandoah's Gabe Young played defensive back for the South squad as well, spending much of his night covering Mississinewa star Heisman Skeens, who will be playing at Wabash. After several first half catches by Skeens, Young made an adjustment and kept him fairly quiet in the second half.
"I had to stop being so aggressive," Young said. "In the beginning, I was trying to make that big play like I did in high school."
Young enjoyed an electric senior season for Shenandoah. He had 765 yards rushing, 829 yards receiving, and had 656 yards in kick and punt returns, scoring 29 total touchdowns on the year. Along with two more scores on interception returns and a two-point conversion, Young accounted for 188 total points, averaging 15 points per game.
At defensive back, Young tallied 52 tackles and four interceptions while causing a pair of fumbles.
An all-around athlete, Young was a sectional champion in the 200 meters and runner-up in the 100-meter dash at the 2019 Mt. Vernon sectional. His time of 21.94 in the 200 would have been good enough for seventh at the state finals.
He also hit .282 and stole eight bases for the Raiders baseball team this spring as well.
"I view it as a fun game," Young said of the all-star experience. "It's kind of like college, that next step so I get an idea of what it's going to be like. It's not the last high school game because that last high school game is with your brothers that you've played with since youth league."
Young will continue his playing career at Olivet Nazarene next year and expects to play slot receiver.
"I got to play under coach Mac (Shenandoah coach Jordan McCaslin) one more time," Young said. "He's been a huge influence on my life."
McCaslin was an assistant for the South team and will be back for his third season as head coach for Shenandoah this fall. He has compiled a 19-5 record the last two years at the helm and, in his seven total seasons on staff, the Raiders have a 62-31 record with sectional championships in 2012 and 2014.