BUTTE — For the first time in four years, Team Blue prevailed.
The Blue Team grabbed an early second-half lead and never trailed again as it held on for a 56-40 win in the 39th Bob Cleverley 8-Man All-Star Game at Bob Green Field on Saturday night. It was Team Blue's first victory in the series since 2019.
The Blue Team struck first on a 70-yard punt return touchdown from St. Ignatius' Bryce Umphrey to go up 6-0 in the early minutes of the game.
The Red Team then responded at the end of the first quarter on a short touchdown run from Belt's Bridger Vogl, who followed that up with a 2-point conversion run, to take an 8-6 lead. The Red Team then forced an interception on the Blue Team's next possession, and one play later Flint Creek's Andrew Tallon scored on a 33-yard quarterback keeper to extend the Red team's lead to 14-6 early in the second quarter.
The Blue Team then cut into the lead on a goal line touchdown run from St. Ignatius' Canyon Sargent to make it a 14-12 Red Team lead. Then Charlo's Tucker Love recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and scored on the next play off a double pass to give the Blue Team an 18-14 lead before the Red Team grabbed a 20-18 lead at halftime.
The Blue Team then retook the lead off a touchdown reception from Superior's Decker Milender to go up 26-20 in the first minute of the third quarter.
The Red Team got within one possession off a long touchdown catch and run from Joliet graduate and Rocky Mountain College football commit Paxton McQuillan early in the fourth quarter, but the Blue Team continued to pull away, and an interception from Umphrey just before the two-minute warning effectively iced the game.
39th Annual Bob Cleverley 8-Man MVPs:
Blue Offense: Bryce Umphrey, St. Ignatius
Blue Defense: Canyon Sargent, St. Ignatius
Red Offense: Bridger Vogl, Belt
Red Defense: Connor Sawyer, Cascade