Big plays the norm in 39-13 win for East squad in Fourth Annual East West Game

The East. with an obvious advantage in talent powered to a 39-13 win in the fourth annual East West All Star Football Game at Altoona’s Mansion Park on a beautiful Saturday night.
Big plays abounded with the quality of athletes on each sideline, but the East had the greatest number of big plays and big play makers.
The West had only three plays for more than 20 yards, while the East used seven, including three that resulted in touchdowns.
After a scoreless first quarter, two TDs in a period of 3:33 and a third just beating the buzzer at the end of the first half to take a 19-7 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
The first three possessions for the West team consisted of three plays each, while the East squad ran off 19 plays in that same time sequence.
The West had the first scoring opportunity, but Altoona’s Matt McNelis’s 50 yard field goal attempt was well short.
On the next play from scrimmage, Conestoga Valley quarterback Jordan Steffi lined up as a running back, took a pitch and found Lancaster McCaskey’s Charles Brooks for a 61-yard completion that carried to the West-19, only to be nullified by a penalty. Not to be denied, the East drove the ball downfield using the battering ram power running of 6-2, 248-pound fullback Michael Cox of Red Land High School. Steffi completed a 35-yard reception to Kervin Michaud of Pennsbury High School and Cox rushed six times for 32 yards, including the six-yard TD on the first play of the second quarter. Central Dauohin’s Nate Royer kicked the extra point for a 7-0 East lead with 14:56 to play in the half.
The first and third quarters consisted of 12 minute quarters, while the second and fourth lasted 15 minutes each.
On the kickoff following the East’s score, Paul Favers of Perry Traditional, faked a reverse and ran 59 yards to set the West up first and 10 at the E-29. Baldwin’s fred Bacco took the game in hand here, getting his number called three straight times, the last an 18-yard jaunt around the right side following a monstrous block by Pat Shepard of Upper St. Clair from his wide receiver spot that cleared the way. McNelis booted the PAT to tie the score.
East quarterback Jarryd Moyer of Manheim Central Catholic was trapped in the backfield for a seven-yard loss on the first play after the kick, then shoveled a short pass to Michaud, who ouran everybody 83 yards for a quick TD that gave the lead back to the East for good. The PAT attempt hit the upright and bounced away so the score reamined 13-7.
Defense and penalties killed any further scoring opportunities until near the end of the first half. Beginning at the West 45, the East was hit with a five-yard penalty and a quarterback sack by Ben Maljovec of Rochester to put the pigskin back at the East’s own 44-yard line. Moyer connected with Brooks for a 56-yard TD and this time it counted. A two-point PAT pass failed to give the East a 19-7 halftime lead.
“It was such an honor to be picked for this game,” said Tyrone Area High School athlete Tom Crowl, who played in the defensive secondary for the West. “The festivities and everything during the week were awesome. It was just a great experience and I actually got more playing time than I thought I would get at free safety. In respnding, I didn’t make any mistakes, so I’m happy with it.”
As a result of one of the game rules by being down by more then nine points or more, the West took advantage to receive the second-half kickoff, even though they had also received the kick at the start of the game. Not able to move the ball, however, the West had a three plays and punt and the East moved quickly on their big-play mode to score again.
Gerald Madden highlighted an 80-yard march in 11 plays by grabbing Moyer’s pass to complete a 52-yard pass play for the TD.
Garrett Major’s second pass interception gave the East the ball right back and on the first play, it was Michaud taking a double reverse over the right side and spprinting 50 yards to the endzone for his second touchdown. Michaud would compile 220 all-purpose yards during the game. Royer added the PAT kick to increase the East lead to 32-7 with 0:16 on the third period clock.
The East team scored their final TD of the evening midway through the final quarter Another deflected pass was intercepted by Pennridge’s Tom Cressman, his second pick of the game, at the West 24. Two plays later Kevin Akins, one of five players in the game from North Penn scored on a double reverse from the seven and Royer booted the PAT.
Down 39-7, the West team puit one more score on the board to narrow the final score to 39-13.
Once again, a big play set up the TD. Favers returned the kick 60 yards to the E-32. A 12-yard penalty on the East moved the ball to 12-yard line and two plays later, Pete Winovich from Thomas Jefferson High School connected with Favres, who mad a circus catch in the left corner of the endzone outstretched over defender Greg Ambrogi of St. Josephs Preparatory School, who apeared to be in good position to prevent the play.
“This was a very exciting game, depending on which side of the field you were sitting on,” said Bellwood-Antis head football coach and Athletic director, who served as the game director for the East West All Star Game. “You are either awfully excited, or a little dejected. The outcome of the game is the small thing here. I’m sure everybody wants to win coming in, but the journey here, the week the kids put in. The experiences they had, the opportunities the kids had to see guys from al over their region to be with some class coaches. It’s a tremendous experience for them as they take their next step in their athletic journey. Most of them are going on to play and to have this experience before they go is a real plus.
“The East definitely had a very talented team and the rules of this game kind of dictate that those big plays can happen. They are almost choreographed. When you have speed, you see it happen quickly.”