West gets crucial late save to win TSMCA Division II All-Star game
Exhibition football matches often end with an unbalanced score and lack the energy and excitement of games that “count” in the fall.
This was not the case on Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Fans were treated to a classic that ended in a crucial West defensive save with five seconds left to secure a 38-34 victory over East in the Division II All-Star Game of the Texas Six-Man Coaches Association.
“It was an awesome game. When you bring together 32 of the state’s top footballers you expect fireworks, and there was a lot of it tonight,” West Dalton coach said. Degraffenreid of the Klondike. “It was fun – it was a lot of fun.”
The game followed a typical exhibition game pattern throughout the first half and into the third quarter.
West started the second half with a six-play, 70-yard touchdown that took 2:52 on the clock and opened up a 20-point lead over the East.
Calvert’s Davion Flentroy took the ensuing kickoff, worked his way through West defensemen and ran for a 62-yard touchdown to bring the East team to life.
The two teams traded touchdowns before Howard Payne hired Iredell’s Hunter Sheffield, who brought the East down to four points with 4:35 left after a nine-yard run.
The game was filled with drama from that point on.
West sought to clear the clock by relying on Jayton’s Pecos Smith and West Texas A&M hire Gunner Lamb of Groom in an attempt to secure victory.
“Gunner and I talked about it late in the game,” Smith said. “We knew we were going to have to step up and play a bigger role because you could tell we weren’t in the best shape to play a football game.”
“I felt it was my responsibility to keep the guys together and motivated,” Lamb added. “If they’re looking at me and I’m exhausted, they’re going to start to fall apart.”
East got one last chance to win the game after Flentroy intercepted a pass from Lamb to give the ball to his team on the west 34-yard line with 1:36 left.
Lamb knew he had to play defense after throwing the interception.
“I was like, ‘Ah man, I have to get the ball back.’ Mistakes happen, and I had to look beyond and prepare for the next game, “Lamb said.” We had a bunch of guys who knew what it would take to win. “
Lamb was responsible for the two-pass defense in the end zone and nearly ended the game with an interception before forcing the East to make a fourth attempt.
“I felt like I was in the air forever; I just jumped too soon,” Lamb said. “I wish I could get this one back because it would have been great to come out with an interception.”
“Gunner Lamb is a phenomenal athlete,” Degraffenreid said. “There’s a reason Groom played against Balmorhea in the state semifinals, and he was one of the main reasons. He’s the epitome of a good football player. He doesn’t let go of them. down get to him. He knows he can make a play when we need him, and that’s why we called him as much as we did tonight. “
With a plethora of NCAA Division II and III athletes on the field, it was Smith who shone the most. Smith plans to attend Midwestern State in the fall and major in sports medicine.
“He’s a hard working stallion with a tough nose,” Degraffenreid said. “He’s been tearing people apart for Jayton for years, and it was fun to see him do a few games tonight.”
“It was great playing with Pecos,” added Lamb. “I loved blocking him in the lead for him and having him crush me in the end zone.”
The East nearly pulled off a memorable comeback behind Howard Payne’s hitting Hunter Sheffield. The Iredell native played on the defensive side of the ball in the first half, which kept him from playing on offense until the second half due to all-star rules.
“You have athletes, then you have someone who was born to be a soccer player, and that’s Hunter,” West coach Naphtali Fletcher said.
Fletcher was first chosen as an assistant coach, but was elevated to the head coach position after Ja’Marcus Ashley left Calvert for a job at Class 6A Bryan.
A common theme among coaches and players after the game was how much they enjoyed the experience.
“The coaches of these players deserve a lot of credit,” said Fletcher. “Every player they sent us was a great person and represented their community well.”
TSMCA DIVISION II ALL-STAR GAME
West 38, East 34
East 6 6 8 14 -34
West 16 8 8 6 -38
E – Billy Thompson 3 pass from Landon Burkhart (missed kick), 4:14
F – Pecos Smith 53 run (Omar Reyes kick), 4:07
W – Gunner Lamb 15 run (Reyes kick), 0:34
F – Cameron Coldiron 1 run (Reyes kick), 7:11
E – Tyler Simpson 19 pass from Luke Eli (missed kick), 0:35
F – Kade Wampler 23 pass from Lamb (kick from Reyes), 7:08
E – Davion Flentroy 62 kick return (Nash Shaw kick), 6:51
E – Thompson 2 run (Shaw kick), 9:55
W – Smith 4 run (missed kick), 5:09
E – Hunter Sheffield 9 run (missed kick), 4:35
First stockings: (E) 11; (F) 13
To rush : (E) 20-227; (F) 25-157
Who passed: (A) 5-17-0-54; (F) 14-28-1-175
Punts: (E) 2-31.5; (F) 1-10
Fumbles: (E) 2-1; (F) 1-0
Penalties: (E) 7-71; (F) 6-53
QUICKLY: (East) Luke Eli 11-120, Hunter Sheffield 4-80, Landon Burkhart 4-25, Billy Thompson 1-2. (West) Pecos Smith 14-134, Gunner Lamb 2-25, Cameron Coldiron 5-11, Jonathan Comacho 1-5, Team 1 – (- 2), Kylar Pepper 2 – (- 16).
WHO PASSED: (East) Burkhart 4-9-0 – 35, Eli 1-6-0 – 19, Sheffield 0-2-0 – 0. (West) Smith 5-7-0 – 84, Lamb 6-12-1 – 50 , Pepper 3-9-0 – 41.
RECEPTION: (East) Tyler Simpson 2-41, Eli 2-10, Thompson 1-3. (West) Lamb 5-85, Kade Wampler 1-46, Pecos Smith 2-16, Gary Abraham 1-11, Coldiron 1-11, Marshall Howard 1-6.