All a player can ask for when invited to an all-star type of sporting event is to get some decent playing time, enough to show his skills.
While it may not have been enough to satisfy his competitive juices, Orlando Dr. Phillips star quarterback Nick Patti got on the Chase Field turf long enough Tuesday night to throw a touchdown pass in the inaugural, Marine Corps-sponsored, Semper Fidelis All-America Bowl in Phoenix.
That late first-quarter TD pass tied the game at halftime 14-14, and it was the last time either team would see the end zone as the West earned a 17-14 victory with a 47-yard field goal from Plantation American Heritage kicker Marshall Morgan (Georgia commit) with 5:30 left in the game.
Patti, a Boise State commit who has often been told he is too short to play quarterback at the
On his second series, he took advantage of a short field after a 53-yard kickoff return by Miami Central's Donaldven Manning put the ball at the West 34-yard line.
Manning owed him one.
Ironically, it was Manning's Rockets who ended Patti and Dr. Phillips' dream season last year with a loss in the Florida Class 6A state title game 42-29, handing the 14-1 Panthers their only loss of the season. Patti lost just four games in three seasons as the DP starter and ended with a 35-4 career record.
Patti threw two straight incomplete passes after a procedure penalty, and then took to the ground. His third-down run of 11 yards set up a fourth-down swing pass to New Jersey running back and Virginia commit Kye Morgan for a first down. Patti then ran a draw play for another first down on the next play to set up the touchdown pass.
He showed what Dr. Phillips fans had seen plenty of times. Rolling right and scrambling toward the sideline, Patti unleashed a perfect dart toward a waving, double-covered Maxx Williams streaking across the front of the end zone at the near pylon for the nine-yard TD.
"It was awesome to be able to throw a touchdown in a game like that," Patti said in a text message after the game. "The experience was one to remember. I met a lot of amazing people that I will carry on [relationships with] for a long time and had some memories I will cherish for some time to come, as well."
It was vintage Patti, with the only thing missing on the TD pass being Trey Griffey or Chris Gallon on the other end, just two of the recipients of the 66 TD passes Patti threw in three seasons, during which he chalked up a DP career record of 5,701 passing yards.
The recipient this time was the East tight end and punter Williams, a Minnesota commit from Waconia, Minn.
Quarterback Phillip Nelson, another Minnesota commit, from Mankato, Minn., took the first snaps for the East squad after a team vote earned him the starting position. East QBs rotated after every second series, and Nelson took to the deep ball on his second series with a 48-yard touchdown pass to Auburn commit Ja'Qwuay Williams, a product of Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek, to give the East a 7-0 lead.
Patti entered the game as the East’s third quarterback, following two series by Miami commitment
Patti entered for the first time in the middle of the second quarter and it was quick duty on a three-and-out series during which he threw a third-down pass that was obviously not in sync with his intended target, a common scenario in these events where players are not familiar with their teammates.
He also started the second half and went three-and-out again on the drive that could have at least been stretched for another set of downs, but a would-be first down pass was dropped. That was it for Patti, who was one of four rotating QBs working against a running second-half clock.
"They were all good guys though," Patti said of his fellow QBs. "I was having a good time."
Manning, one of five Florida players in the game, had a great time, as well. He got burnt on a bump-and-run fly route for a TD by uncommitted Jaydon Mickens of Los Angeles Dorsey High. Mickens decommitted from USC earlier this past season.
That was the only play Manning, a West Virginia commit, bumbled. He had several pass deflections and also had two long kickoff returns. The 53-yarder came right after Mickens' TD catch to help make up for some of the damage.
Justin Ferguson of Pembroke Pines Flanagan also played and caught a pass in the first half but came down awkwardly, then turned back inside and was drilled by a West defensive back and appeared shaken up on the play. He is committed to
Also in the contest from Florida was Homestead linebacker
8th-grader Pollock has 9 tackles in youth game
Johnathan Pollock, an eighth-grader at Windermere Prep, was captain and starting middle linebacker for the East squad in Monday's Semper Fidelis Youth All-American Bowl. Pollock, who plays cornerback for Windermere, was fifth on the varsity team in tackles this past season.