HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The nature of an all-star football game is for offenses to rotate players nearly every series.
Saturday night, in the 2018 I-72 Do or Die Bowl, that kept the West all-stars from finding their rhythm. The East squad didn't struggle nearly as much with that.
A 60-yard touchdown pass from Unity-Payson quarterback Taylor Klusmeyer to Quincy Notre Dame wide receiver Reed Hyer early in the second quarter was the only offensive touchdown the West produced in a 34-14 loss at Porter Stadium. The East, which is comprised of Springfield area all-stars, won its third straight contest since the game was revived in 2016 after a one-year hiatus and has outscored the West 98-42 in that span.
"You're used to having a set of guys going out every single time," Klusmeyer said. "Whenever you get pauses, you don't really get in a rhythm. It's difficult, and you have to adjust a lot more."
The West couldn't find a way to get the offense clicking.
The West rotated four quarterbacks -- Klusmeyer, Quincy High School's Logan Ross, Pleasant Hill's Dalton Crane and Mark Twain's Lincoln Talbott -- and none could engineer a scoring drive after Klusmeyer's touchdown pass that came with 11 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
On the five possessions after the scoring drive, the West netted just 13 yards and had just two first downs. One of those came when the East was penalized for offsides on third and 3. Klusmeyer fared the best among the four quarterbacks as he completed 4 of 9 passes for 101 yards, but also threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Williamsville's D.J. Mumaw with 2:35 left in the opening quarter.
Crane was 2 for 3 for 12 yards passing, while Ross misfired on all four of his passing attempts. Talbott didn't attempt a pass.
"We just struggled with consistency," West coach Bill Connell said. "(The East) were a little more sound than we were and were able to make some big plays. We just weren't consistent. I was proud of the players because we played hard, but the consistency tells the story."
The West's other touchdown came when Fort Madison (Iowa) running back Alex Gully returned a kickoff 85 yards. He appeared to be wrapped up at the 40-yard line, but landed on an East defender as he rolled and never touched the ground. A whistle never blew the play dead, and Gully ran the remaining 60 yards untouched.
Gully's return trimmed the East's lead to 28-14 with 5:45 remaining in the first half.
"We were all confused, but Gully said he knew the whole time he wasn't down," Hyer said. "When he didn't hear a whistle, it was just all him running."
The West finished with just 62 rushing yards and 175 yards of total offense.
"It's really challenging to put together an entire an offense in just a week," Ross said. "We needed timing on the routes to be better, and I think that hurt that the most. It just takes time to learn it."
The East fared a little better in the first half.
After forcing a turnover on downs on the game's first series, the East manufactured a 10-play, 64-yard drive that was capped off by a 24-yard touchdown pass from Springfield quarterback Lucas Rockford to Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin wide receiver Spencer Redd for a 7-0 lead with 2:35 left in the quarter.
Three plays after Klusmeyer's touchdown pass, Springfield Lanphier quarterback Ajonte Lee completed a 73-yard catch-and-run to Redd for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead. On the next series, Lee hit Auburn's Colby Bossmann on a 51-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline for a 28-7 advantage.
The East finished its scoring when New Berlin quarterback Casey Bixby threw a 26-yard strike to Athens' Drayton Davis for a 34-14 lead with 1:31 remaining in the half.
The East totaled 305 yards of offense, with 215 coming through the air. Neither side scored in the second half.
The only hiccup for the East was Lee getting intercepted by Monroe City safety Dawson Shively late in the fourth quarter.
"I think some of the corners didn't expect those wide outs to be as fast as they were," Shively said. "We didn't let them drive on us, but they scored on big plays. If we eliminated those, it's a different game."
I-72 Do or Die Bowl
East 34, West 14
11 First downs 7
36-90 Rushes-yards 30-62
215 Passing yards 113
305 Total yards 175
7-14-1 Comp-Att-Int 6-15-1
0-0 Fumbles-lost 3-1
9-80 Penalties-yards 6-50
East 14 20 0 0--34
West 0 14 0 0--14
E--Spencer Redd 24 pass from Lucas Rockford (Robert Hayes kick), 2:45
E--D.J. Mumaw 23 interception return (Hayes kick), 2:35
W--Reed Hyer 60 pass from Taylor Klusmeyer (Avery Wilson kick), 11:37
E--Redd 73 pass from Ajonte Lee (Hayes kick), 9:37
E--Colby Bossman 51 pass from Lee (Hayes kick), 6:03
W--Alex Gully 85 kickoff return (Noah Mencer kick), 5:45
E--Drayton Davis 26 pass from Casey Bixby (kick failed), 1:31
RUSHING--East, Marquel White 9-34, Redd 2-23, Hunter Thompson 2-23, Dalton Cloud 2-22, Rockford 7-6, Ethan Clarke 2-4, Nikolas Samson 2-7, Lee 4-(-12), Bixby 4-(-13), Davis 2-(-4), West, Jacob Foiles 7-32, Gully 3-2, Klusmeyer 2-13, Devin Tynan 4-7, Logan Ross 4-6, Cody McKenzie 2-3, Ethan Downs 1-2, Quentin Estrada 1-2, Hayden Miller 1-1, Todd Kelly 1-2, Riley Langford 2-(-7).
PASSING--East, Bixby 3-7-0-60, Lee 2-3-1-124, Rockford 2-4-0-31, West, Klusmeyer 4-9-1-101, Crane 2-3-0-12, Ross 0-4-0-0.
RECEIVING--East, Redd 3-104, Thompson 2-34, Bossman 1-51, Davis 1-26, West, Hyer 2-68, Aaron Shoot 1-18, Kelly 1-15, Miller 1-8, McKenzie 1-4.