East edges West in all star
By Casey Kellas
The East squad needed every minute to outlast the West squad Saturday in the 23rd annual East-West eight-man all-star game at Community Stadium.
The East used a touchdown with 54 seconds remaining in the game to pull out a 24-20 decision in a back-and-forth affair.
“We struggled a little in the second half offensively. We missed some chances to pick up some first downs. But the kids played great,” East coach Stub Travis of Crane said.
With the East trailing 20-18 with 2:20 to go in the fourth, the hosts got the ball at its own 38-yard line. A long completion to Andrew Fullerton of Imbler was called back on a holding penalty and set up a difficult third and 29.
But B.J. Warnock of Joseph was able to come up with a long catch and took the ball all the way down to the West’s 22-yard line with 1:08 to play and gave the East new life.
Then Fullerton hauled in a pass and got the ball to the eight-yard line.
Fullerton followed that by taking a sweep to the left and fighting his way to the end zone to give the East a 24-20 lead with under a minute to play.
The West squad was unable to put together anything on the following possession. A sack by Tyler Schaffer of Cove forced a turnover on downs and the East took a knee with one second left to ice the game.
“It was great,” Travis said of the East’s final drive. “We had the big penalty that brought it back. But we just stuck with our passing game and made the big plays when we needed to.”
The East had built up an 18-6 lead in the first quarter before the West rallied to take a late lead.
Fullerton hauled in a long reception on the opening drive of the game that set up a four-yard touchdown run by Mark Ishida.
The West answered on its first possession, scoring on a Kendall Reese touchdown pass on fourth down from the eight yard line to tie the game at 6-6.
But the East took control after that.
Ryan Opie connected with Trevor Lewis of Joseph for a 64-yard touchdown pass to put the East up 12-6.
After a turnover on downs by the West, the East put together a seven-play drive that ended on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Justin Larson to Fullerton to stretch the lead to 18-6 that the East took into the locker room at halftime.
“It was great to jump on them early and give us some momentum a little bit,” Travis said.
The West regrouped at halftime and put together a six-play, 69-yard drive to start the third quarter. Corbin Reed found Reese on a 29-yard touchdown pass and catch with 8:14 left in the quarter to cut the score to 18-14.
The East’s offense struggled throughout the second half, turning the ball over on downs twice and throwing an interception on its first three possessions after halftime.
“In the second half we came out and missed some opportunities to extend the lead. The West kind of stuck with what they were doing. They started running the ball more.
“In the first half they were passing the ball and it wasn’t very successful. So they went back to running it more,” Travis said.
The West took its first lead of the game on a touchdown pass from Reed to Richard Andreas with 2:23 to go in the fourth that set up the final set of plays that led to the win for the East.
Fullerton was named the player of the game after scoring two touchdowns and coming up with an interception on defense. Imbler’s Evan Barry was named the defensive player of the game for the East, while Opie of Crane was the East’s offensive player of the game.
Micah Stillman of Ione was the inspirational player of the game on the East’s squad.
For the West, Andreas, of Camas Valley, was the defensive player of the game, Ryan Dancer, also of Camas Valley, was the offensive player of the game, and Stephen Reynolds of Falls City was the inspirational player of the game.
This is the second straight season the East has won.
Last year the East won 26-14. The East now lead the all-time series 12-11.