Blake shines in gridiron East-West game


Published: Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 12:05 a.m.

LAKE CITY — Several of the area’s top senior high school football players met Saturday at Memorial Stadium to duke it out one more time in the second FYCA East-West All Star game.

With temperatures becoming more frigid by the quarter, the East team took a little longer to get heated up. After playing poorly for the first three quarters, the squad got hot at the right time and stole the lead in the final minute to claim a 14-13 victory.

The East didn’t enter West territory until the 6:34 mark of the fourth quarter. The team had accounted for just two first downs and less than 50 yards of total offense when Newberry’s Detavious Ross intercepted Bell quarterback Justin Flowers to give the team a spark.

The East’s yardage total was nearly doubled by Union County running back Deven Perry on the next play. Perry cut back twice and wasn’t touched again until he had gained 48 yards to the West 35.

Perry, who claimed the East’s offensive MVP award, capped off the drive with a 1-yard score to trim the deficit to 13-7 with 3:50 to play.

“I saw the hole, and just hit it,” said Perry, who totaled 58 yards on six carries. “It took a while to get warmed up, but we got clicking after a while.”

With the clocking ticking away on the East’s hopes, Madison County running back Dontrias Huggins fumbled a handoff in West territory. The miscue was recovered by Newberry’s Paul Hope for the East with 3:03 remaining.

East coach Demetric Jackson, also the head coach at Fort White, went with what he knew late in the game, handing the ball off to his running back with the Indians, Xavier Blake, on seven of the next eight plays. Blake chipped away at the West defense until springing off of the right corner on a first-and-goal play at the 10 to score the go-ahead touchdown with 22 seconds remaining.

“Coach (Jackson) got on me at halftime,” said Blake, who finished with 49 yards on 17 carries.

“He said I was playing like a rookie and I needed to step up, so I did.”

The West got on the board quickly, when Lafayette’s Shyler Morgan took a 68-yard run into the end zone on the second play of the game.

Morgan injured a muscle in his chest on the play and was limited to just two more carries before finishing his night with 77 yards, good enough for the West’s offensive MVP.

Morgan’s teammate at Lafayette, kicker Blade Herring, logged the rest of the West’s points with field goals of 38 and 39 yards over the next two quarters.

The East misfired on all five of its pass attempts and finished with 138 yards on 34 carries.

Flowers and Madison County quarterback Josh Arnold combined for 4-of-13 passing for 57 yards. The team finished with 231 yards of total offense.

Taylor County running back Bryckoski Jackson led all rushers with 80 yards on 14 carries for the West.

The West logged 12 first downs to six for the East. The victorious East trailed in nearly every statistical category, except for the final score.

“We came out and looked like great cheerleaders before the game, getting all riled up,” Jackson said. “Then when it’s time to block and tackle, we looked like we weren’t even playing football. I told them at halftime that they couldn’t do it playing like that.”

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