Posted: 8:31 pm Saturday, January 14th, 2012
By Matt Porter
GREENACRES — Welcome to the last football game of the 2011 season: The Palm Beach County-Treasure Coast All-Star Game, the postseason showcase formerly known as the Outback Bowl.
A crowd of about 750 went to John I. Leonard to see about 80 of Palm Beach County’s best play.
Click here to read the game story, which details a 13-12 win by the American team, from north and west Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, over the Nationals, made up of players from south and east Palm Beach County.
Starting strong: American running back Alex Clark of Palm Beach Gardens ripped a 25-yard run to on the game’s first play. National defensive back Davison Colimon of Suncoast had a near-pick on second play.
First “ooooh” of the game: West Boca Raton linebacker and Virginia Tech commit Ja Wand Blue dropped a monster hit on American receiver Keithlin Patrick of Pahokee. Blue laid the wood on an end-around. It held the Americans to a field goal.
AMERICAN 3, NATIONAL 0 (5:52, 1Q): David Antunez (LaBelle) booted a 29-yarder to open the scoring.
Two mistakes in a row: The Nationals punted, but got the ball back after the American coverage team lost the ball. With the ball on the 45-yard line, National quarterback Moore went deep. American safety Steven “Stretch” Williams of Glades Day made the pick, hauling it in at the 4.
Gimme Moore: Lake Worth quarterback Evan Moore put together a strong drive for the Americans. Starting from his own 48, he hit Forest Hill’s Mikey Bullard for 9, carried for 15 and found Village Academy’s Devonte Robinson for 10. Tremane McCullough of Royal Palm Beach bounced it in from the 1. Kick failed.
NATIONAL 6, AMERICAN 3 (10:34, 2Q): After a strong drive, McCullough put the Nationals on the board.
Best anti-celebration: Palm Beach Lakes’ Jeff Elisbert had a near-pick on a deep ball in double coverage. It clanged off his hands, and Elisbert dropped to the turf and flopped like an angry fish.
National power: Virginia Tech will be happy to get Blue, who brought the thunder to an American running back. When he hits, it’s thunderous. Soon after, National defensive end Justin Russ of Inlet Grove smacked Bostic, who lost the ball but recovered. Both plays led to a punt.
Aaaaaalmost: New National team QB Taylor Schnaars (Spanish River) threw a bullet in tight to Atlantic’s Chad Ward, who was hit as he tried to make the catch. The ball popped up to a diving Tyler Vanacore (Wellington), who hauled it in. He was out of bounds.
Best redemption: From his own end zone, Summit Christian punter Austin Van Es accidentally put his first punt out of bounds at the 19. His next two were boomers.
Early MVP case: Lake Worth’s Evan Moore. Threw a 15-yard rope to JoJo Sweeney (Boca Raton), who took it another 15. Moore hit Bullard in traffic for 13. Two pass interference calls – both drawn by Moore’s Lake Worth teammate Bernard Davis – put the Nationals at the 4. Moore threw a fade to 6-2 West Virginia commit Devonte Robinson, who outjumped his man for the score. Two-point try was no good.
NATIONAL 12, AMERICAN 3 (1:47, 2Q): Devonte Robinson shows his athleticism, hauling in a touchdown catch to put his team up two scores heading into the half.
At halftime, two recently retired figures were honored: longtime Jupiter coach Charlie Persson and former Boca Raton and Spanish River Athletic Director Bill Massey. Also introduced: Palm Beach County’s only state champion, Class 3A powerhouse American Heritage.
T-Coast stand up: The second “oooh” moment of the game came when American and Martin County safety Treyvon Johnson plastered National running back James Huggins of Suncoast. May have been helmet-to-helmet. Brutal. Right after, Centennial lineman Anthony Herring ripped down National running back Grant Smallridge of Wellington. Play went for a big loss and forced a punt. (Huggins, by the way, checked out OK.)
Taking over: Americans killed tons of clock with a 17-play drive. They grabbed a pair of first downs via penalty and a 14-yard strike from Bostic to John Carroll receiver Aukeemian Mills. Bostic’s keeper on fourth-and-1 brought them to the 32.
Trading picks: National safety Brisly Estime (Atlantic) ended the long drive by intercepting a deep ball from Bostic. On the next play, American corner Ty Jackson of Centennial made a great play on the ball and got a pick of his own. Jackson had to feel good. He had fumbled twice before that.
NATIONAL 12, AMERICAN 10 (2:38, 3Q): The Americans make good on a turnover. After the pick, Centennial’s Mike Nesmith carried 14 yards to the 1. Bostic sneaked in for six. The extra point was good.
Showtime: Crowd getting sleepy when McCullough juked a defender out of his shoes. After taking a pass, McCullough took two steps, stamped his lead foot, cut and got outside for 7. Quick “woohs” from the crowd.
Case closed: No one has solidified the American MVP vote, but Moore has the National MVP all but locked up. He hit Wellington’s Tyler Vanacore for 19 yards and John I. Leonard receiver Nesly Ovincy for 22. After a penalty, Moore scrambled for 12. Moore hasn’t committed anywhere and he’s anything but a hot recruit. Why? Sadly, 6-foot quarterbacks aren’t usually high up on college recruiters’ wish lists. That’s a shame, because the kid can play.
Foot in mouth: As I editorialize on Evan Moore, Martin County’s Justin Simmons gets in front of a deep ball Moore left high and short. American ball inside the 10. Simmons is a Boston College commit.
Making his case: American running back Mike Nesmith (Centennial) is quietly earning his team’s MVP award. He has gains of 14 and 12 yards on this drive. Also set up the Americans’ last TD.
AMERICAN 13, NATIONAL 12: High drama here, as American kicker David Antunez, of LaBelle, kicked a 27-yarder to put the Americans up 13-12 with 1:24 remaining. With a pair of field goals, Antunez has an MVP case of his own.
Final flurry: The Nationals faced a third-and-6 with 53 seconds remaining. From his 24, McCullough picked up 11 yards and the first on a screen from Moore. A penalty made it first-and-15 from the 30. Moore went 20 yards downfield to a wide-open Bernard Davis, and Treyvon Johnson lowered the boom. The play was ruled a catch, though it looked like Davis dropped the ball. The officials conferred. Call stood. With 25 seconds left, Moore hit Davis again for 12, but it came back on a hold. First-and-22 from the 42. Moore went incomplete. Eight seconds left, and McCullough runs out the clock after catching a screen pass.
FINAL: AMERICAN 13, NATIONAL 12
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NATIONAL TEAM MVP EVAN MOORE
“It was exciting. I’d rather win, though. It’s great to be on a team like this, but it’s horrible to lose by one point.”
“We have a bond. We were only together for one week, but we’re all friends. We’ll probably look back on it. We might not be happy, losing by one point in the final two minutes.”
AMERICAN TEAM MVP DAVID ANTUNEZ
“They believed in me. They let me kick it. My teammates trusted me to go out there and …” [Antunez was interrupted by his teammates, who engulfed him and lifted him on their shoulders.]
NATIONAL TEAM COACH WAYNE MONROE
“It was a great football game. Great event. You can tell the kids on both sides had a lot of fun. And it’s great to see the kicker get the MVP.”
AMERICAN TEAM COACH BILL POWERS
“It feels a lot better than losing, I can tell you that.”