INDIANAPOLIS — Of the 92 players on the rosters for Friday's North-South All-Star Game, 89 are committed to play in college.
Jaeger Gill is one of the three is not, the Lowell graduate passing on continuing his career to enter the electrician's trade.
"I just don't want to go to school for four years," Gill said. "I'm going to miss football for sure, but it's time to start working. I'm ready to be done."
As sendoffs go, you couldn't have asked for much more. Gill was credited with a team-leading six tackles and had consecutive pass breakups on a late fourth-quarter South possession that helped preserve a 27-24 North victory.
"We were in cover one (man-to-man) and I knew I had safety help in the middle," Gill said. "On third down, he had it and I had to rip it out. On fourth down, I just got a good break on the ball. It was the last game I'm ever going to play. I just wanted to have fun and make the most of it. All these guys here are great athletes. It feels great just to be here, to bond with guys I didn't know."
Gill wasn't the only Northwest Indiana player to leave his fingerprints on the North victory, its fourth in a row in the series. Morton's Robert Wharton blocked a 44-yard field goal by Ben Norton as time expired after Cameron Misner led a last-minute South march to the North 27.
"They didn't block me. The center didn't even move. I just made an inside move," Wharton said. "I felt it hit my hand and I heard everybody go, 'Ohhhh!" I thought the ball was still going, that he was going to make it. I didn't even know until I turned around. I'm happy I hit it. I'm going to have to check it out on the live stream."
Misner threw for a record 311 yards and three scores to almost bail out the South.
"He was throwing bullets," Wharton said. "I was using spin moves, everything, and they were still getting me. I was like, man, I'm not going to get a sack the whole game, but we hung there. We just kept playing."
Josh Gorball's 38-yard field goal broke a 24-24 tie at 5:59. His go-ahead points were set up by a North recovery at the 24 after a punt bounced off a South return man.
Michigan City's Mike McCullough completed six of 12 passes for 45 yards and ran for an 11-yard touchdown. Portage quarterback Anthony Maceo, playing receiver, had three catches for 13 yards.
"The whole week's going to get me ready for VU," said Maceo, who will play running back at Valparaiso. "It was a new position for me. I dropped a lot of passes in practice but I got them all out of my system."
Among other Region players, Caden Watson (Crown Point) was credited with three stops and M.C.'s Mason Kaletha two. Boone Grove's Ryan Dziewicki and Jake Thode were on the North offensive line.