It took three plays for Brock Huard to live up to his billing as an All-American quarterback.
It took four more plays to remind a crowd of 4,307 at Albi Stadium that there were a lot more star players in the East-West All-Star Summer Classic on Friday night.
The East contained Huard and his Puyallup teammate Dane Looker, and dominated the rest of the West to pull out a 17-14 victory, the third straight win for the East.
“It was pressure - they needed to pass to score,” lineman Andy Armstrong of Franklin Pierce said. “Our defense was stuffing them almost every play.”
That happened on the first two plays of the game, when the West tried to run. But on the third play, Huard found Looker on a deep post over the middle for a quick 69-yard score.
“That was kind of a shock,” free safety Kevin McClure of Prosser said. “It got us pumped up to get going. It got us motivated, too.”
The first East possession fizzled, but when the West took over on the 17, Huard’s next pass floated over Looker’s head and McClure picked it off and ran 40 yards untouched down the right sideline to tie the game.
“They broke one, we missed coverage. But overall I thought we played great,” said McClure, who is going to Wenatchee to play basketball. “My main concern was being deep and breaking up. I was just sitting back and he floated one over there. It was a great feeling playing with all these guys, especially (picking) off Huard.”
As long as Huard was around, though, the 17-7 lead the East built with 10 points in the second quarter was never safe. Huard finished with 12 completions on 22 attempts for 204 yards. He engineered a quick 62-yard drive that included a 32-yard strike to Looker down the left sideline before hitting tight end Dave Stachelski with an 8-yard bullet with 11:38 to play.
On three final possessions the West never threatened.
“With only a week to practice with everybody you could see that we had a lot of near-misses with timing,” said Huard, the West’s Most Valuable Player bound for the University of Washington. “But with Dane (six catches, 158 yards) and I, you could see the timing from playing together for six years. That was a great advantage.”
With no running game - 29 carries by 11 different players netted just 69 yards - the East was prepared.
“It wasn’t too bad, we just respected his arm,” said strong safety Bob Strahl of Gonzaga Prep who will play baseball for Community Colleges of Spokane. “We knew what he could do. We stayed with our assignments and it worked out.”
Jimmy Lake, a cornerback out of North Central who will play at Western Washington, said, “He made us a little nervous. We knew he wanted to go to Looker pretty much every time. We have some great athletes and we pretty much shut them down.”
A blocked punt by Marques Harriston of Stadium gave the East field possession that eventually turned into a 43-yard drive, capped by a 7-yard pass from East MVP Phil Hazel of Kamiakin to Randy Jones of Ferris with 4:25 left in the first half. On the next possession Hazel marched the team from its 28 to the West 18 before Jones kicked a 35-yard field goal.
Hazel, bound for Weber State, finished 8 of 13 for 86 yards and no interceptions. The East also ran for 88 yards on 22 carries, led by the 41 on eight by Chet Doughty of Tumwater.
“Yes (I was surprised to be MVP), considering I was splitting time with another quarterback (Griffin Garske of Mead) and there are so many great athletes on the field,” Hazel said. “In my opinion the whole offensive line should be MVP. It was a hell of a way to end your high school football career, that’s for sure.”
The West got to the East 3 and 14 in the third quarter without scoring. Looker missed a 20-yard field goal on the first and the second, 2:56 before the end of the quarter, ended on downs when Albert Mitchell of Ferris, who muffed a punt return to set up the West, stopped Ben Wall of Lynden on fourth-and-3. The West was in a hole because of a sack by Armstrong, who is going to Pacific Lutheran University.
The game was also the swan song for East head coach Pat Pfeifer, who retired after as Ferris coach after last season.
“It’s really a great feeling,” Pfeifer said. “It’s just frosting on the cake. The thrill was the week working with kids like this.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo