East Beats West in 2013 All Star Game
June 22, 2013 11:00 PM
ALLENDALE – At the 2012 Michigan High School Football All-Star Game, The West defeated the East in a blowout by a score of 59-7.
2013 turned out to be The East's chance to return the favor.
The East defeated The West in the 33rd annual All-Star game, which took place at Grand Valley State University, by a final score of 13-3.
East Head Coach Mike Zdebski said the players used last year's debacle as motivation.
“The big thing was, this would be the last East/West game,” Coach Zdebski said. “So, you want leave a legacy, you want to live in history, you want to go see that trophy in Chrysler Arena with your year on it, and your score. We kind of had to bounce back for the east side of the state. West side people, you know, they'll gloat a little bit, they'll get after you a little bit. So, our kids took it very personal, they worked very hard, they were very focused, the coaches did a great job.”
The East started the game off with an impressive 74-yard opening drive that ended with a 32-yard touchdown pass from South Lyon's Cameron Thomas to Dearborn Edsel Ford's Leonte Degraffenreid. The West responded with an impressive drive of their own that saw them get deep into East's red zone, but they had to settle for a field goal from Okemos' Dong Kim.
Missed opportunities by The West were a theme for the entire game. The West missed two field goals, and even lost a fumble inside The East's red zone.
“(East) played well, especially when they got us in situations where it was relatively predictable that we were throwing the ball,” Coach Feraco said. “The thing about football, or most sports, you squander those opportunities, there is no guarantee they will come back. I was proud of the kids. They played hard.”
The East scored the first points of the second half when Detroit Loyola's Keymonn'e Gabriel scored off an 8-yard run less than two minutes into the 4th quarter.
Down 13-3 with just over six minutes left in the game, West defensive lineman Ronal Jenkins of Muskegon gave his team a huge opportunity when he intercepted a screen pass and returned all the way to the East's 10-yard line. Unfortunately for the West, they failed to gain any yards over the next three players, and then wound up missing their second field goal of the game.
Coach Zdebski said his team never got discouraged.
“One of the other players was saying 'Hey coach, how come you're not smiling' – I'm like 'because there's not zeros on the clock yet,” Coach Zdebski said. “Next thing you know, next play, there's the pick. Everyone stayed calm, they know what defense we were gonna be in, and they just executed their assignments.”
The East capitalized off The West's miscue when Gabriel scored another touchdown off an impressive 22-yard run with just over a minute left in the game to put an exclamation point on the victory.
The East had far more success than The West when it came to running the ball. The East finished with 160 yards off 34 carries, while The West managed just 54 yards off 23 carries.
However, The West were more effective when it to came to the passing game. The West finished the game with 149 passing yards as opposed to just 78 for The East.
Comstock Park's Jake Brown, one of the quarterbacks for The West, said the loss didn't take away from what was a great week.
“It's not about the game, the game is just icing on the cake and for the fans, I mean it's all about this whole week,” Brown said. “I had so much fun.”
For Coach Zdebski, it was about sending his players out the right way. None of the players on The East roster had finished their high school careers with a win.
“They had a purpose, and they came out and they completed that purpose today,” Coach Zdebski said. “Fortunately for us today, they get to finish their careers with a win, they're going to have great memories for a life time.”
Article by - Colin Dilworth