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Two area athletes represented Antelope County in the 2018 Northeast Nebraska All-Star Classic football game on Saturday.
The matchup took place at Memorial Field on Saturday in Norfolk. Playing for the White team were Creston Bertschinger of Clearwater/Orchard and Nate Buck of Neligh.
The game pitted the Red team against the White team in a matchup of the area’s best football players. The White’s prevailed over the Red’s in a 40-35 thriller.
Bertschinger, who played defensive back in the contest, said he was thrilled to have another chance to play football.
“I’m excited to play again. I’m not going to play in college, so to be able to play again, I’m just excited,” Bertschinger said.
He said that the hardest part of preparation for the event was learning and adapting to play 11-man football. Bertschinger, who played all four years at Clearwater-Orchard, spent his time in high school playing 8-man football.
“The hardest part was learning the whole new scheme. We had to learn, as 8 man, how 11 man works. You have three more guys, three more responsibilities. More guys to work together with,” Bertschinger said.
Buck, who played football for Neligh-Oakdale, said the change, at least for him, wasn’t very drastic.
“It was not very difficult. I mean, adding three more people is a little different, but everyone has their role, and my role wasn’t much different from when I was in high school,” Buck said.
During the matchup, Bertschinger had an impressive interception from a deep pass and return to set up the White team for their next score. He said that when opportunity presented himself, the practices paid off.
“I just kept my eye on it like we practiced...the ball was right there, and I reached out and grabbed it.”
He said that after the play, he felt like he had made a statement to his fellow players and coaches.
“I think that kind of proved that I deserved to be there,” he said.
Bertschinger, who leaves in a month for training for the Army National Guard, said that the preparation for this game and the Sertoma All-Star Football Game next weekend has helped show where he is at physically before leaving for training.
“It really helped show me where I was at physically. I started preparing for the All-Star game, and I found out I was more in shape than I thought I would be, so it definitely helped.”
Bertschinger will play in the 2018 Sertoma All-Star Football Game on Saturday, June 16, in Hastings.