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Karp shines in UP All-Star game, scores 3 TDs in 38-26 triumph

Iron Mountain’s Dante Basanese (22), right, Kingsford's Carter Kreski (40) and Ben Rumpf (4) look to bring down North Central's Ian Gorzinski (2) on a pass play in the second half Saturday. (Matt McCarthy/Daily News photos)

Marquette grad Kameron Karp scored three first-half touchdowns, helping the Black All-Stars post a 38-26 triumph over Red in the 14th annual U.P. All-Star game.

Karp got Black on the board slightly more than four minutes into the contest on a 12-yard pass from Menominee’s Joe Haire.

The team’s Most Valuable Player scored again on a 14-year aerial from West Iron County’s Nate Thomson for a 13-7 lead with six seconds remaining in the opening frame, then gave Black a 19-7 cushion on a seven-yard run up the middle five minutes into the second.

“I’m gonna be honest, I completely underestimated our quarterback because I didn’t even know who he was before this week, but they did nothing but impress me,” Karp said. “Every ball that I got today was right on the money and right where I needed it. They did a phenomenal job today.”

The Black Team found the end zone one more time before halftime, this time on a pass to Iron Mountain’s Bryce Pietrantonio, and held a big 25-7 advantage going into the third quarter.

Players from Dickinson County high schools who participated in the 2021 U.P. All-Star Football game pose Saturday at the Superior Dome in Marquette. From left, front, are Nolan LaVarnway, Kingsford; Jon Carrion, Iron Mountain; Caleb Evosevich-Hynes, Iron Mountain; and Carter Kreski, Kingsford. Back, from left, Elliot Johnson, Kingsford; Ben Rumpf, Kingsford; Bryce Pietrantonio, Iron Mountain; Dante Basanese, Iron Mountain; Joey Dumais, Iron Mountain; and Gannon Bray, Norway.

Black led most of the way at Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome, and on three occasions, kicked off to Red after Red had scored a touchdown.

“I didn’t understand the rule at all, but it made the game interesting,” said Karp, who plans to continue his grid career at NMU this fall. “They (game organizers) didn’t want the game to get out of hand. They wanted to keep it interesting.”

Escanaba grad Collin Arnt was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Defensive Player.

“It was a weird rule, but we just toughened up and played to the rule,” he said. “We had a lot of fun and played hard. It was kind of neat meeting different kids and making new friends from throughout the U.P.”

The contest provided the players with an opportunity to get used to 15-minute quarters, three longer than in high school.

Iron Mountain's Caleb Evosevich-Hynes reacts to receiving the offensive MVP award for the Red Team in the 2021 U.P. All-Star Football game on Saturday at the Superior Dome in Marquette.

Esky’s Bryant Maki, who caught a TD pass in the third stanza, will continue his football career as a wide receiver at Michigan Tech.

“We all played real well today,” he said. “It was fun to come here and play one last time (as a high school player) and represent our school.”

Westwood’s Garrett Mann, also an NMU recruit, was selected the Black team’s Defensive MVP.

“This week was a blast meeting new kids and hanging out and practicing with them,” said Mann. “We bonded all week which helped during the game. It was a little tricky reading the uniform numbers (through a camouflage background) at first, but it got a little easier later in the game. It was fun playing here in the Dome and getting to know more about NMU.”

Iron Mountain’s Caleb Evosevich-Hynes scored Red’s first TD on a 30-yard aerial from Bark River-Harris’ Nick Javurek, tying the score at seven with 5:26 left in the first quarter.

Rapid River’s Bryce Lundquist also scored for Red on a two-yard run through the middle early in the third.

Pietrantonio notched his second touchdown catch of the day with 13:11 left, pushing Black’s lead to 38-13. The Red Team tried to rally and got two more touchdowns on short runs by Sault Ste. Marie’s Kris Pearce and Javurek, but the gap was too much to overcome.

Mining Journal sports writer Ryan Stieg contributed to this story.

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