West stars win AISA All-Star game, 28-27

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 7, 2005

For the second straight year the Alabama Independent School Association’s annual East vs. West All-Star game came down to the wire. This time, however, the West squad’s coaching staff weren’t going to let it end in a tie.

The East took a two-touchdown lead late in the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown dive by quarterback Brad Sanders (Lakeside School). With the point after bouncing off the 7-Up sign behind the uprights the blue-clad East All-Stars began to celebrate.

The celebration turned to concern when the West’s Maurice Scheeff (Tuscaloosa Academy) took the ensuing kickoff 65-yards in the opposite direction for a touchdown.

Email newsletter signup

“It was a great game on both sides of the ball,” said Jim Archibald, coach of the Patrician Academy Saints. “We just enjoyed it.”

With the point after, the gameplan for East coaches Jeremy Carter (Autauga Academy) and Mark Freeman (Bessemer Academy) became a simple one – protect the football and kill the clock.

Neither of which they did.

“You’ve got All-Stars, it’s going to be a great fought game all the way to end of it,” said Carter. “Both teams played a great game and that’s what All-Stars are all about.”

The East’s Idarious Bennett (Autauga Academy) fumbled the toss from Sanders and recovered it for a loss.

Two plays later, the East squad punted the ball away to the West.

The West however, was unable to move the ball and turned it over on fourth down on an incomplete pass.

While the East All-Stars were able to take some time off the clock, their second possession late in the fourth quarter ended with another fumble, and this time it was picked up by the West All-Stars.

With first and 10 inside the East’s 50-yard line, the conservative West All-Stars dug into their bag of tricks and came out with a halfback pass. Jeremy Smith (Morgan Academy) pitched the football to Beau Meeks (Patrician Academy) on a toss sweep. Meeks took a few steps, stopped and slung the football into the arms of Preston Newsom (Shelby Academy) for a touchdown with 51.4 seconds left in the game.

West coaches Robby James (Faith Academy) and Tim Smith (Cornerstone Christian) sent the offense onto the field to attempt the two-point conversion.

Smith took the snap from center and rolled to his right. The senior quarterback from Selma fired a strike into the hands of Wyatt Smith (Pickens Academy) in the front corner of the end zone, to give them a 29-28 lead.

“We knew they were going to go for two,” said Carter. “They were going to go for the win. No one wants to see an All-Star game go to a tie. We just weren’t prepared for that tight end to slip out like he did.”

After the game’s final kickoff, the West defense came out determined not to get beaten by the pass, dropping back nine men and only rushing two, to keep the East receivers in bounds so the clock would keep running.

The West All-Stars scored the first touchdown of the game in the first period. After intercepting Moore, the West’s offense took the field and proceeded to drive the football straight through the middle of the East defense with runs from Josh Lear (Clarke Preparatory School) and Wallace Drury (Southern Academy). Lear scored on a first and goal from the two-yard line and Scheeff added the point after touchdown, putting the West on top 7-0.

The East answered with a pair of scores in the second period.

After driving down the field, Moore dropped back and found Vincent Cook (Bessemer Academy) for a five-yard touchdown pass. Slade Ponder added the point after, tying the game at 7-7.

The West regained the lead in the second period when Lear lowered his head and barreled his way into the end zone from five-yards out. Scheeff once again added the point after with 8:40 left in the quarter. The score was set up when Andrew Slagel (Morgan Academy) caused Moore to fumble the football after being sacked. The West All-Stars recovered the loose ball deep in East territory.

The East added a second touchdown in the second frame when Sam Sellers (Pike Liberal Arts) fought off a tackle for a score with 6:01 left in the half. Ponder added the point after to tie the game at 14-14 before heading into the intermission.

Following the break, neither team was able to find their way into the end zone during the third frame, but the East did twice in the fourth period.

Moore was flushed out of the pocket by pressure from the West’s defensive line and found Andrew Golden (Springwood Academy) open in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. Ponder added the point after to push the score to 21-14 with 6:47 left in the game.

The East’s final touchdown came after a controversial call by the officials.

On first and goal from the two-yard line, the West’s Blake South (Morgan Academy) crashed down from his defensive end position and centered the East’s Bennett in the backfield, causing the football to pop free and into the arms of Henley Hughes (Morgan Academy) but, the officials ruled that the back was down by contact and gave the East the ball at the West one-yard line. Sanders dove over the top of the pile and into the end zone for the touchdown.

But the West added their pair of touchdowns and a two-point conversion to claim the 29-28 victory.

Statistically, the East was able to move the ball, recording 28 first downs to the West’s 11.

Fort Dale’s Brady Newton was selected as the Most Outstanding Defensive Back for the West All-Stars and Lear was selected as the Most Outstanding Back for the West. Overall, AISA officials selected Moore as the East MVP and Newsom received that same honor for the West Squad.

Selected to represent West Alabama on the West roster were Southern Academy’s Drury, Brad McCrory, and Andy Wheeler; Sumter Acad.’s Brandon Briggs; Marengo Acad.’s Robbie Smith; and Marion Military’s Wendell Crews and Javoris Smith.