The 52nd East/West all-star football game was a defensive delight.
The West defense threw a shutout, stopping the East 6-2 Friday at Gonzaga Prep.
Save for a big play late in the first quarter, neither team could sustain much offense.
Isaiah Williams of Kentwood bounded over right tackle and broke outside for a 58-yard gain to the East’s 4-yard line. Two plays later, Daron Camacho of Chief Sealth scored from 4 yards out with 1:26 remaining in the opening period.
Gonzaga Prep middle linebacker Conor McKenna, who recovered a fumble early in the game, broke through to block the extra-point try.
The score would stand at 6-0 going into halftime.
It was the last game as head coaches for Rick Giampietri of Central Valley and Bob Bourgette of Kennedy Catholic. Both coaches retired last fall. Together they had a combined 90 years experience.
Giampietri knew the defenses could dominate. It’s more difficult for offenses of all-star teams to get in sync in a week’s time than defenses.
“We had four turnovers but played really solid,” Giampietri said. “It was the combination of getting the ball to the receivers. Some were open and some weren’t. The defense played great.”
The West had two opportunities early when it took possession at the East 30 and 20 on back-to-back series. But the East’s defense stiffened both times.
It appeared the East had grabbed some momentum with three minutes to go in the third quarter when Kenny Mills of Arlington tackled Williams in the end zone for a safety.
And on the ensuing possession, the East moved the ball to the West 24. But cornerback Jake Wikel of Lake Washington stretched out for his second interception at the 9.
The East got a first down on its next possession but another interception – this time by Donavan Sellgren of Arlington – stopped things at the East 49.
“We had a good chance there after the safety,” Giampietri said. “We had a good drive going and didn’t get it in. I figured all we needed was one (touchdown).”
The West was driving for a second touchdown moments later. The West moved to the 18 but on fourth-and-6 Samson Brown of Mead picked off Andrew Kalahar of Arlington in the end zone, giving the East one more possession with 3:56 remaining.
The East picked up two first downs and crossed midfield to the 48. But the drive stalled on downs.
“It’s tough to get a whole offense going in a week,” said McKenna, who is headed to Eastern Washington as a preferred walk-on. “That one big play killed us. The team rallied and we kept battling the whole game. It was real special to play with these guys. I’m planning on staying in touch with a lot of these guys.”
East safety Kale Wong of Gig Harbor, who was awarded a $500 scholarship by the East coaches, will be returning to Spokane this fall to play at Whitworth. He, McKenna and linebacker Jarryn Bush of Timberline made several defensive stops.
“Coach told us that these games are almost always defensive-heavy so we kind of knew what we had to do,” Wong said. “We tried to carry the load but the West team played awesome. The defensive players worked their butts off. It’s cool that I’m going to be back and be able to play in the Pine Bowl.”
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