Grand Finale / East teammates to share backfield one last time

Columbus East quarterback Josh Major has been sharing the same backfield with childhood friend Jamon Hogan since the seventh grade, and winning the Class 5A state championship in Lucas Oil Stadium is the last moment they will share as Olympians, with both players heading to their respective colleges this fall.

However, the two athletes will get to showcase their 1-2 punch in one more game while representing the South in Friday’s North-South All-Star Classic. The game will start at 7:30 p.m. at North Central High School in Indianapolis.

“It feels great,” said Hogan, who rushed for 2,296 yards and 34 touchdowns on 10.2 yards per carry as a senior. “I couldn’t imagine playing with anybody else for this one last game, especially my quarterback.”

Originally, there was not going to be a backfield reunion. Major was sent to the other side of the ball as a defensive back before one of the other quarterbacks dropped out of the game.

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Although Major showed himself as a versatile athlete, completing 77 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 401 yards (8.8-yard average) and 22 touchdowns, playing defense would have been a new adventure for him.

Major said he was a little surprised when he first heard he would be playing defensive back, but was still excited to play a position that he’d never played before.

“I was definitely happy when I got the call to play QB because I’m familiar with that and comfortable playing quarterback,” Major said.

Major and Hogan will be sharing the field with some athletes from northern Indiana whom they’ve never gotten a chance to play against. They will also be joined by teammates who they’ve never shared a locker room with during their four years of high school.

Both players said they are looking forward to that experience.

“It’s really interesting to see all the different talent from all over the state and make new connections with the teammates,” Hogan said. “I’m pretty stoked about it.”

Playing in the All-Star Classic will cap off a varsity career that consisted of a four-year 51-5 record, four Hoosier Hills Conference, three regional and two semistate championships to go along with last season’s state title. It took a lot of time and effort to acquire all that hardware, and Hogan said being selected as an All-Star just shows all the hard work they put in has paid off.

Having two All-Stars from one team also is a testament to the accomplishments and progress the entire team made over the course of last season.

“I just think that speaks volumes about the program we have at Columbus East — the program coach (Bob) Gaddis has been running for the past 15 to 20 years and just the respect that East gets around the state of Indiana,” Major said.

Major will be headed to DePauw University, while Hogan will be representing Marian University. For now, they get to cherish one more game together that could possibly include a few touchdown celebrations and another victory to add to their pile.

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What: North-South All-Star Classic

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: North Central High School, Indianapolis

Who: The state’s top non-Division I football recruits, including Columbus East’s Jamon Hogan and Josh Major.