West Puts On Blistering Performance
Alma College – Alma College’s Bahlke Field saw a Fireworks display 4 days early in its first year of hosting the MHSFCA All-Star Game. The 32nd Annual left no doubt from start to finish. Many of the East-West battles have gotten off to slow starts through the years but not this year, the West squad made sure of that. Led by 2 outstanding performances from West Quarterbacks Gabe Dean (Lowell) and Cooper Rush (Lansing Catholic), along with a punishing effort from the defense, the West avenged last season’s loss with a 59-7 victory in the 2012 edition. The sun wasn’t the only thing blazing on early Saturday evening, the West Offense set several All-Star game records, including passing yards by a QB (Cooper Rush 241 Yards), Most Points (59) and the longest play (Cooper Rush’s 95 TD pass to Shane Barron from Carman-Ainsworth). The most telling stat was the yard differential however. The West outgained the East 461-78.
2012 All Star Game DVD Order Form
It all got started after the East went 3 and out on their first possession. Starting from their own 47 yard line, the West took less than 2 minutes to put 7 up on the board. The big play of the drive was from Dean to Tyler Hanks (Morley-Stanwood) on a 30 yard pitch and catch, that got the ball down to the 8 yard line. Dean then finished the drive himself with a 4 yard keeper for the score. Jesser Boulnemour (Vicksburg) added the PAT and it was 7-0 with 8:21 left remaining in the opening quarter. After another 3 and out from the East, it took the West less than 2 minutes to score again. 2 key passing plays from Rush to Kyle Bryson (Leslie) racked up 31 yards and pushed the ball up field. The scoring play came from a perfect pass to a streaking Jason Ribecky (Muskegon CC) up the middle. Ribecky caught the ball in stride and raced for paydirt and the score, putting the West up 14-0. At this point, it was looking good for the East but they had far from threw in the towel.
The next time on offense, it took the West a bit longer to score, about 3 and a half minutes this time. The key play of the drive was easily the most acrobatic catch of the game. On 2nd and 12, Dean heaved the ball down the middle of the field towards Kevin Baker (Linden). Baker was being shadowed by 2 East defenders but somehow got one hand on the ball and while it was moving around managed to haul it in to his body for the beautiful grab and 39 yard pickup. 3 plays later from the East 3 yard line, Bennett Lewis (Nouvel CC) took the ball around right end and would not be denied for the score. The score was the opening play of the 2nd quarter and one that put the West up 21-0. On the next East drive, they would finally have an answer.
On the East’s first possession of the 2nd quarter, it wasn’t pretty but this is football. They mixed in the run with the pass and marched down the field. The drive almost ended on an interception but it was negated on a pass interference penalty. Finally, on 3rd and goal from the 6, QB Tyler Steele (Garden City) rolled out to his right and found and open Marty Moesta (Grosse Pointe South) for the score. Moesta had caught the ball but had to make a good effort to get his body turned around and run for the endzone, scoring from 6 yards out. Dylan Mulder (Saline) added the point after and with 7:05 left in the half, we had ourselves a ball game at 21-7.
Unfortunately for the East, 21-7 was as close as it got because the next series of events would virtually decide the outcome, maybe more emotionally than physically. On the ensuing kickoff it looked as if the East would get even more momentum. The West had made a mistake on their return, while trying to field the kickoff. It resulted in the returner getting tackled at his own 5 yard line. The very next play is most likely the play of the game, not only for breaking a record but for when it came. The East had just scored and they had just pinned the West deep in their own territory. Cooper Rush dropped back, then heaved the ball down the left sideline to a streaking Shane Barron. Barron had blown past his defender and then hauled in the bomb. Still near midfield, it became a foot race. Throw in the race and a broken tackle and Barron had scored an electrifying 95 yard touchdown and All-Star game record. That put it at 28-7 and the West tack on 3 more before halftime on a 36 yard Boulnemour field goal, 31-7.
While the West failed to score to open the 2nd half, they piled it on after that. On their 2nd possession, Rush hit Baker for a 33 yard score, the pass was thrown near the right sideline where Baker was the only player to have a chance at the ball and he made sure he cashed in. The 3rd and 14 conversion for the score put the West up 38-7. The West would go on to score on their next 2 possessions, both through the air. The first was a 21 yarder from Dean to Hanks and then Rush connected with Barron again, this time for a 21 yard score with just over 3 minutes left in the game. On the pass, the West squad really wasn’t making attempt to through the ball down the field. The play was actually a swing pass to Barron who made 2 defenders miss (highlight film material) and then weaved in and out of traffic for the final offensive score.
The final icing on the cake came from the defensive side of the ball. The West defense held the East to under 80 yards but it’s hard to track that in the stats. Defensive Back David Brown (Ithaca) made sure the defense put one in the scoring stat column as well. With under a minute to play in the game, Brown hauled in the pick and then took it back to the house 55 yards for the score, making it 59-7, which is where it would end up when the clock struck zeroes.
Before this game, the East had taken 3 of 4 from the West, including the last 2 and including a 30-13 win last year. The West got a little bit of revenge today and I’m sure the records broken in the process will make it that much sweeter. The East still leads the all-time series 17-15.
Here are you stats at a glance. Gabe Dean led all rushers with 37 yards and a score. Cooper Rush led all passers with 241 yards and 2 scores. Shane Barron led all receivers with 132 yards receiving and 2 scores. While the East didn’t have the leading passer, rusher or receiver, Hunter Matt led the East defense and all tacklers with 11 tackles. Ethan Rennaker led the West with 7 tackles and essentially prevented a kickoff return for a score.
For all the game stats, click here. (please note that Brown scored the final TD, the stats have a misprint there)
Click Here to See the Event Pictures.