INDIANAPOLIS — Lee Dullaghan didn’t want to leave anything on the field.
Determined to make the Indiana North-South All-Star Classic in his final year, the Greenfield-Central graduate gave everything he had during a back-and-forth battle at North Central High School.
Dullaghan, New Palestine graduate David Judy and the South All-Stars came out strong to take a two possession lead early, but despite their best efforts, the North charged back to score three unanswered touchdowns to win 21-14.
Nothing was certain, however, until the North’s final drive as quarterback Peter Morrison of Fort Wayne Concordia connected with East Noble’s Dylan Hurley (Saint Francis) for an 18-yard go-ahead touchdown pass with 14.8 seconds left.
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“When I came here last year, I knew I wanted to be here. It was everything I imagined it would be. We bonded as a team. It stinks we didn’t win, but that’s a good team over there,” Dullaghan said. “It would have been nice if we won, but we both played hard.”
Dullaghan made an impact on the South’s opening drive. Starting at tight end, the former Cougar lowered his shoulder with a smooth block off the edge to give Lawrence North’s Al McKeller (University of Indianapolis) some extra room up the right side.
On the field for the entire drive, Dullaghan worked primarily as a blocker, but he and the front line were imposing. The group marched the offense down field 75 yards in 2 minutes, 41 seconds on 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead.
Dullaghan leapt to grab a pass from Beech Grove’s Chase Andries on the South’s third drive of the game, rotating back in. He gained 16 yards and put the team in the red zone at the North 18.
Five plays later, the South found the the end zone on Andries’ second touchdown pass with 11:45 left in the second quarter to go up 14-0.
Andries passed for 88 yards while McKeller rushed for a game-high 122 yards on 23 carries.
Judy rotated in on the South’s offensive line, which helped gain 107 rushing yards and 99 passing yards with 16 first downs compared to the North’s 12.
“I didn’t know what to expect as one of the best 100 players in the state of Indiana,” Judy said. “Not knowing if you’re going to fit in, but it was great. I learned a lot of things.
“I knew this wasn’t going to be a blowout or it would come down to a field goal or like it did. Both of these teams are great. It was a fun, good game.”
The North made it a game after trailing 14-0. Winning the past two annual meetings, the North charged back with consecutive scoring drives. The South had won four straight against the North from 2011-14 and were in primed position to start a new run.
Three touchdown passes by the North and 165 combined passing yards in key situations made it difficult for the South.
“When you’re in a tight game, it’s hard to find that one connection when both sides are rotating in and out,” Dullaghan said. “They eventually got that connection and that last one.”
A touchdown pass by Peter Morrison of Fort Wayne Concordia sliced the South’s lead 14-7 with 8:11 remaining in the first half. Northwood quarterback Trey Bilinski (Valparaiso) used a short field to tie the game with a 27-yard touchdown pass to West Lafayette’s Matt Marley (North Central).
The North’s second scoring drive followed an interception to put Bilinski and offense deep in South territory.
The North, however, couldn’t avoid the big turnover either, losing three fumbles in their own territory, including an ill-timed loose ball with 5:41 left in regulation.
Columbus North’s Coleman Tennyson (Tiffin) scooped up the North’s third fumble to put the South in prime position to break the 14-all deadlock.
Again, the South couldn’t get past the 20s, starting the drive at the North 27, but they never broke the 20-yard line.
“Our defense was great. They had three forced fumbles,” Dullaghan said. “It would have been good if we won.”
Both team went scoreless the entire second half until the North put together an 11-play final drive.
Despite the loss, Judy was eager to move onto the next stage of his career at St. Francis where he will join several former teammates.
“I love the college. I love the coaches. I think it’s going to be another four great years, and hopefully we can get another ring like they did last year,” Judy said. “Matt Runyon (of Brownsburg) another great offensive lineman, I roomed with him here this week, and he’s a great guy. The next four years should be fun.”
Judy is the sixth Dragon named to the North-South Classic showcase in four seasons. Last year, New Palestine had two seniors participate in the game. Record-setting quarterback Alex Neligh (University of Indianapolis) and defensive back Nick Brickens (St. Francis) both played for the South All-Stars, the second time in three years two Dragons were invited.
For Judy, an honorable mention on 2016 The Associated Press All-State team, his opportunity capped a three-year varsity career as a starter. Judy was a key contributor for the Dragons the past four seasons.
In his career, the program rolled to a Class 4A state title in 2014, two semistate championships and a 5A state runner-up finish in 2015. The Dragons gained 453.7 yards per game toward a 9-1 record in 2016 and were 50-3 with Judy on the roster.
Judy will join fellow senior Adam Kincaid in Fort Wayne. He also will reunite with former teammates Duke Blackwell and Brickens as a member of the defending NAIA national champions.
Dullaghan is planning to attend Wabash this fall after earning All-HHC distinctions as a senior in addition to being recognized by The Associated Press as 2016 All-State honorable mention.
The 12th all-star chosen from the city of Greenfield since 1974, Dullaghan is the ninth from Greenfield-Central, according to the IFCA, and first in three years. Jacob Mize was a South All-Star in 2014.
North 21, South 14
S — Daveon Bell 14-yd pass from Chase Andries (Isaac Sheehan kick), 6:14
S — Noah McLean 19-yd pass from Andries (Sheehan kick), 11:45
N — Jameson Bisacky 21-yd pass from Peter Morrison (Sam Milazzo kick), 8:11
N — Matt Marley 27-yd pass from Trey Bilinski (Milazzo kick), 7:00
N — Dylan Hunley 18-yd pass from Peter Morrison (Milazzo kick), 14.8