Inside the PD: It was a memorable, and somewhat unusual, All-Star game

Leftovers and whatnot from Friday night’s VHSCA All-Star football game, which saw some memorable and even unprecedented stuff:

When the West took a 21-0 lead with 7:56 to go in the second quarter, it seemed as good a time as any to research the biggest blowout in All-Star history. Instead, the fans at Darling Stadium saw the greatest comeback in the game’s 41 years.

Helped by some obscure All-Star rules, the East scored two touchdowns in the final 3:53 of the second quarter and rallied for a 31-24 win. Hampton’s Kavon Bellamy scored the game-winner on a 3-yard touchdown run with 37 seconds left in the game.

In fact, Bellamy’s touchdown gave the East its only lead of the night.

It was sixth win in eight years for the East, which is now 21-20 in the series. It was also the third highest-scoring game in All-Star history.

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For the West, everything turned on two rulings unique to the All-Star game. One was understandable; the other, well …

With just over four minutes left in the second quarter and his team leading 21-0, West defensive end Alex Figueroa recovered a fumble and ran it back 74 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, the officials ruled someone for the West (maybe Figueroa) had blitzed, which is against the rules in the All-Star game.

(That’s the understandable one. You don’t want anyone getting hurt in an All-Star game).

So the East kept the ball and scored two plays later. Instead of 28-0, it was 21-6 with 3:53 left in the second quarter.

But this where it gets really weird.

According to VHSCA All-Star rules, when a team scores a touchdown but remains at least nine points behind, that team gets the ball again. So after its touchdown that made it 21-6, the East was on the receiving end of the kickoff. The East scored again with 1:44 remaining in the half to make it 21-12.

So in 6-minute stretch, the East cut the lead from 21-0 to 21-12 without the West running a single play from scrimmage.

Just imagine: In baseball, a team winning by five runs or more doesn’t get to bat in its half of the inning. Basketball becomes “Make It, Take It” when the margin is greater than 15 points. Soccer has to pull its goalie with a three-goal lead.

OK, I get that nobody wants a blowout, but nine points is ridiculously low. It also leads to an interesting strategy debate: Say you score a touchdown to make it 23-14. Why not botch the extra point on purpose so you can get the ball again?.

If the VHSCA is going to keep this rule, make it at least two touchdowns.

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Four MVPs were picked — two each, offensive and defensive, from both sides. But the best player on the field Friday night was West quarterback Zach Deutel of Brooke Point High. In as efficient a performance as you’re likely to see, Deutel completed 12-of-15 passes for 154 yards.

Deutel, who threw for 3,153 yards and 39 touchdowns as a senior, signed with Norfolk State.

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The best night by a non-MVP went to Phoebus kicker Eric Enderson, a last-second replacement who was shifted over to the West by necessity. Enderson punted three times for a 49.3-yard average. He sent four of his six kickoffs into or out of the end zone for touchbacks. And he made a 52-yard field goal — one of the longest, if not the longest, in All-Star history.

It was also a special night for Bellamy, one of the few players who went both ways.

On offense, Bellamy carried only five times for nine yards. But two of those attempts went for touchdowns, including the game winner. On defense, he finished with seven tackles, two behind the line of scrimmage, and was named Co-Defensive MVP for the East.

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Here’s how some of the other locals did Friday night:

Lafayette’s Thomas Smith scored the East’s first touchdown on a 3-yard run and set up the game-winner on a 26-yard punt return. … Bethel wideout Rashawn Proctor caught two passes for 14 yards. … Phoebus linebacker Justin “Boom Box” Lyles had nine tackles. … Bruton’s De’Arius Olvis had two catches for 60 yards.

Also, Jamestown’s Rodney Smith sealed the East’s win by intercepting Motley in the end zone on the game’s final play.

 

 

 

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