In a fitting tribute to the stadium in which they played, the West All-Stars,
behind the power of their offensive line, pummeled their cross-state opposition
into submission. Word spread that the East talked a little trash before the
game. If that was indeed the case, the boastful words had been silenced a few
minutes into the first quarter. With 10:42 left on the clock the East All-Stars
had already amassed 163 rushing yards (0 passing), 14 points, and let the West
team know that it was going to be a very long day. Bay City Central’s
Alex Mitchell indicated that his team knew they could have their way with the
East’s defense early in the game.
“Practice went really good for us,” Mitchell said. “We really
came together and gelled like a team that has been playing together for four
years. After the first series when we took the ball right down the field running
like we did, we knew we could just keep the ball rolling.” The future
Michigan lineman was a key part of that dominance. He physically mauled any
player that stepped in front of him. He was impressive, but so too were the
other line members. With 6:48 left in the half, the rushing total had crept
up to 240 yards (to 0 yards passing) and the lead increased to 28-0.
The West team didn’t notch their first passing yardage until the final
drive of the half, when they threw for 47. They marched down the field in the
two-minute drill thanks to a few long passes to Essexville TE John Matthews.
He rumbled into scoring position and the West squad capitalized with a field
goal to make the score 31-0 going into the half.
The huge output by the West offense may have been what everyone was talking
about, but the performance by their defense was nonetheless dominant. Three
Rivers defensive back Nic Thompson mimicked his performance in his team’s
state title win over DeWitt with 3 interceptions on the day. He took one of
those back to the house for a score. Colorado commitment Brad Jones dropped
into coverage near midfield for an impressive INT of his own before running
it back inside the 5 to set-up another score.
If the East had any hopes of mounting a comeback, they were dashed by the end
of the third quarter. The West continued their record-setting performance by
going up 45-0 and putting the mercy rule into effect for the fourth quarter.
Generally reserved for the last few minutes of the game, the rule calls for
a running clock and the opportunity to receive the kickoff after scores for
the team trailing. That helped the East team score a few touchdowns and make
the stat sheet more respectable with 314 yards to the West’s 351.
Alex Mitchell (left) and John Thompson
On offense the East’s Devin Thomas contended for the most impressive
player of the day, hauling in 5 receptions for 177 yards…73 of which came
on a long touchdown pass. Nicknamed “ShowTime”, he was basically
the only threat the West had to account for. A few of his highlight reel grabs
and runs after catches showed why. The 6-2 190-lb. Plymouth Canton product should
be a good one for Jeff Jenick at Eastern Michigan as he tries to rejuvenate
the long dormant program.
For the East’s defense, Johnny Thompson was clearly their MVP. Regardless
of how many times the West scored, the Crockett star’s intensity never
waned. He made a number of big time hits on the day and generally made his presence
felt on plays run in his direction. Down 31-0, he made the defensive play of
the game for his team when he nailed one of the West runningbacks in the backfield
on a 3rd down to force a punt. Thompson, whom we credited with an unofficial
10 tackles on the day, took a lot away from the experience despite the lopsided
“We didn’t come out on top, but I had fun during the week,”
Thompson said. “Practice went well, but I guess some of these kids weren’t
ready for a big game.” John is one of the few incoming recruits that hasn’t
spent time in Ann Arbor this summer. He mentioned that that was because of an
issue with the clearinghouse, but that he expects to hear good news on his case
in a few weeks.
Future Michigan cornerback Charles Stewart (Farmington Hills Harrison) was
listed on the roster but did not participate in the event.
We’ll have more comments and photos from both Alex Mitchell and John
Thompson later on.