By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The list of names on the Red Team read like the who’s who of 2013 Southeastern Conference recruiting.
So the Blue Team entered the 2012 AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star game on the campus of Memphis University School with a chip on their shoulders.
Leading most of the game, the Blue All-Stars were nursing a 51-49 lead late in the fourth quarter. Facing a must-have first down, Blue Head Coach Chris Wiley called a play he used back in August.
“We did that play the first game of the year against Oakland,” he recalled. “It was a big play for us in about the same situation. That was the same person to throw it in that game and the same person who caught it.”
Just like against Oakland, wide receiver Justin Boring ended up with the ball deep in the backfield and threw a pass down field to his quarterback Drew Reed. The play resulted in a first down at the 14-yard line. Fellow Blue All-Star Antonio Webber of Millington iced the game moments later with a 3-yard run making the final score 58-49.
The game was a 60-minute shootout. There were 34 points scored in the first quarter alone. Red Team scored first after Darius Sims of Whitehaven made an interception. Wooddale running back Andre Strokes cashed the turnover into a touchdown with an 8-yard run.
The Blue Team tied the game at 7-7 with the combination of Brighton’s Brady Stewart and Boring. Stewart tossed a pass that Boring snatched off a defender’s head. Boring raced to the end zone for a 26-yard score.
The Blue Team took the lead at 13-7 when CBHS’ Anthony Miller scored on a TD pass from Reed. The Blue All-Stars made the score 20-7 when a snap went over the Red Team’s punter.
With the ball on the 2-yard line, the Blue All-Stars handed the ball to Webber. The Millington product pounded the ball over the goal line.
The Red Team came up big once again on defense with another pick. That interception led to a Shane Tucker touchdown run making the score 20-14 after one quarter.
The Red Team regained the lead 21-20 when White Station athlete Donald Grey caught a pass and made several defenders miss to cross the goal line from 37 yards out.
The Blue Team took the lead for good when place kicker Thomas Farst drilled a 48-yard field with plenty of distance with 2 minutes and 38 second remaining in the half.
The Blue All-Star got into take-away act when Raleigh-Egypt’s Denarius Doodley scooped up a fumble after a sack. Doodley out ran the Red All-Stars for a rare trip to end zone making the score 30-21.
The Red Team had an answer when Will Emley of MUS caught a 14-yard TD pass with 2 seconds left in the second quarter.
But the scoring wasn’t done yet in the first half. Blue All-Star Walter Crutchfield of Craigmont field the kickoff. With a couple of moves Crutchfield out raced the field to the end zone making the halftime score 37-28 in favor of the Blue Team.
Miller scored his second touchdown of the night for the Blue Team with a fumble recovery in the end zone making the tally 44-28.