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All-Stars face off for good cause

It's always nice to be selected to an All-Star game.

Not only does it feel good to be recognized for a season's worth of hard work, but it also gives student-athletes one more chance at the game they love.

On Wednesday night, Greencastle-Antrim played host to the Four Diamonds All-Star soccer doubleheader, and the event raised $1,033 for the Four Diamonds Fund, which supports families with children going through cancer treatment.

The game pits the best of the best from Franklin and Fulton counties against the top players from Washington County, Md. Although every player was an All-Star, there were still some adjustments to be made. The competitors had never played with each other, and until a few weeks ago, many were competitors themselves.

"I don't know, going against McConnellsburg," Southern Fulton's Chase Varner said with a laugh. "I played with those guys since I was 5 up until seventh grade, then we split ways. But it wasn't too bad. We don't trash talk or anything too much during the regular season. Plus, I know how they play."

The girls game kicked off the event, with Md. earning a 3-0 victory, but the Pa. boys avenged the loss with a 2-1 win.

"This was fun and interesting," said Chris Mellott, McConnellsburg's girls coach and acting coach of the Pa. girls. "For never playing together, you kind of throw them out there and hope they all have a little bit of fun and put something together. I think we did that tonight."

The Pa. girls suffered a disadvantage, though, as they had only 10 players. The entire game was played 10-on-11.

"Defensively, being a man down didn't help us any tonight because that allowed them to put a little extra pressure on us," Mellott said. "Second half, we changed our formation a bit, which didn't help us defensively but gave us a little more offensive pressure. It was a compromise."

The boys came out on fire, though, and it took just 12 minutes for Pa. to take a lead. Joe Eberhart, of Greencastle, made a long pass to Chase Varner, of Southern Fulton, who sliced a shot into the right corner of the net.

Midway though the second half, Greencastle's Luke Herman added another score for Pa., and although Md. scored with 2:30 left in regulation, it was too little, too late.

"It was definitely great playing at home, especially since this going to be my last high school game," Herman said. "It was really fun to come out here with a lot of great guys across the area to play a great game. There was a ton of talent on the field."

Varner said, "The one thing I said coming off the field is we all get to end our high school careers in a win, so that's kind of nice. Looking back on it later in life, it'll be nice to remember this game and that goal."