Local pair have ‘great week’ preparing for all-star game

INDIANAPOLIS — The result wasn’t quite what they wanted, but the overall experience of this week’s Indiana North-South All-Star Classic was a positive one for Mitchell Kelley and Aaron Kruchten.

Kelley, a recent Columbus North graduate, and Kruchten, who recently graduated from Columbus East, played for the South squad that came out on the short end of a 10-7 loss to the North on Friday night in the 50th annual contest at North Central.

“It was a fun week,” Kruchten said. “Camp Riley, I think that’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. That was an amazing experience. I met a lot of great people, made a lot of new friends and I’ve learned a lot about football.”

Because the game was the 50th game in the series, legendary coaches were brought back to guide the teams. Former Penn coach Chris Geesman led the North, and former Carmel and Ben Davis coach Dick Dullaghan guided the South.

“It was a great week, a lot of great players, great coaches,” Kelley said. “It was just great being around all the guys and learning from all these great coaches that we had this year. “It was a good, hard-hitting game, but it was unfortunate the way it ended.”

Kruchten started and played every other series at left guard. He was in the game when the South took a 7-3 lead on a 38-yard pass from Southport’s Luke Johnston to Hamilton Southeastern’s Greg Miller on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Two series later, with the North leading 10-7, Kruchten helped the South march to the North 2-yard-line. But then the North sacked Johnston and recovered a fumble to end the threat.

“That fumble was just a fluke,” Kruchten said. “If we wouldn’t have fumbled, maybe we would have scored. Stuff like that happens in football.”

Kelley rotated in at free safety. He was credited with two solo and one assisted tackle.

Both Kelley and Kruchten will soon head to their respective colleges to continue their football careers. Kelley will play at Rose-Hulman, and Kruchten is headed to Carnegie Mellon.

Aside from the scoreboard, Friday’s game was a fitting way to end their high school careers.

“It was a lot of fun,” Kelley said. “It’s always fun to get to play the greatest game ever made.”

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.