Hutchins, Kolleigbo set for football all-star game

Strange as it might sound, Andrian Kolleigbo’s final high school football game took place where the next phase of his life begins.

A little over eight months separate Whiteland’s 41-7 loss at Decatur Central in a Class 5A regional from the 58th annual North/South All-Star Classic, to be played Friday night on those very same 120 yards of artificial turf.

Kolleigbo, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerback who started the past two seasons for the Warriors during one of the most successful stretches in program history, is one of two Johnson County players suiting up for the South All-Stars.

This time, Kolleigbo wants to exit Devere Fair Stadium with a W.

“When I first found out where the game was being played, I wasn’t too excited about it,” Kolleigbo said, remembering the heartache of that November evening. “But all I can do is play. I’m really just trying to have the most fun, and make the most out of it.

“I’ve got to win. I’m competitive at heart, so I’m going to do whatever I can.”

The same is true for South teammate Payton Hutchins, a two-year starter at center for Center Grove.

Hutchins enjoyed a sideline view the first time he rubbed elbows with the North/South All-Star Classic experience. Eight years later, he’ll be part of the action.

“I’m super excited,” Hutchins said. “My dad (Kevin) coached in the 50th annual All-Star game, and I was a ball boy. It was cool just to see all these great high school athletes, and to be able to see them showcase their talents.”

Kevin Hutchins, then the head coach at Monrovia, served as an All-Star assistant in 2016. He’s now an assistant for head coach Eric Moore at Center Grove.

All-Star coaches reported to Cory Bretz Hall on the campus of the University of Indianapolis on Tuesday morning. Players arrived in the early afternoon, were assigned rooms and eventually made it to the field for practice with their new teammates.

Between meetings, meals, practices and rest, being an all-star means immersing oneself in all things football for four days.

Kolleigbo finished last season with 82 tackles, second on the Warriors behind sophomore linebacker Jordan Palmer’s 106. He also had two interceptions, a pair of forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. The senior twice produced 15-tackle outings — first in a 27-13 loss to Kokomo in Week 2, and two weeks later in a one-point loss at county and Mid-State Conference rival Franklin.

Kolleigbo has played organized football since he was in early elementary school, but Friday will be his last game. Later this summer, he’ll begin his freshman school year at Purdue, where he’ll major in microbiology — making Friday night’s proceedings bittersweet regardless of how his squad fares.

Meanwhile, the 6-1, 285-pound Hutchins will play football at Indiana Wesleyan while majoring in business administration. He’s one of four future IWU players taking part in Friday’s game.

Bragging rights among soon-to-be teammates are at stake.

“I want to show my physicality, and let the guys behind me know they can count on me,” Hutchins said. “I want to get the win too, because I’m super competitive.”


North/South Football All-Star Classic

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Decatur Central HS

Admission (at the gate): Adults $10, students $5