HIGH POINT — The Easts bid to go unbeaten in the N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Games came up one play short Wednesday night.
Greensboro Smiths Tyriek Able intercepted a Vince Jefferies pass in the right corner of the end zone with the clock reading zero, giving the West a 14-7 win in the 65th playing of the game.
East teams went 3-0-1 in the boys and girls basketball and soccer games on Monday and Tuesday, giving the seaside part of the state the chance to go unbeaten for the first time with a win on Wednesday.
The West took a 14-7 lead with 5:13 to play on a 79-yard catch-and-run screen by West running back David Burgess from Garrett Young. Desean Jacksons two-point conversion run upped the lead to seven points.
Jefferies, a Garner grad, led the East offense back onto the field and drove his squad to the West 28-yard-line with 12 seconds to play. Jefferies then tossed the ball to Denzel Keyes in the backfield, who lofted a pass to the end zone that Dwayne Simpson caught for an apparent touchdown. But a back had shifted out of the backfield on the play before the snap, breaking the All-Star Games no empty backfield sets rule and leading to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and moving the East back to the 43.
On the next play Jefferies got the ball to a leaping Jalen McDaniel in the end zone but McDaniel lost the ball while falling to the turf. The next play Jefferies tried to go to Keyes, but Able got in front of McDaniel for the interception.
Jefferies, who went 29-2 as a starter in two seasons at Garner, was 10-of-20 passing for 46 yards on the night. He went 7-for-8 for 40 yards on the final East possession.
That possession was just the result of all the extra work we put in after practice between the quarterbacks and receivers, Jefferies said. I thought we had it on the ball in the corner (to McDaniel) but it just didnt go our way.
Still, this was a great week with a super bunch of players and coaches.
The East squad appeared to be in control before Burgess catch and run for the go-ahead score.
The West had two scoring chances in the third quarter but only cashed in on one of them thanks to a goal line interception by Terrance Peterson of Wilson Beddingfield of the Wests Andre Rice-Dial.
A 19-yard bruising touchdown run by the games offensive MVP Burgess of Morganton Freedom gave the West its first score with 8:28 to play in the third quarter. But the West squad went for the two-point conversion instead of the tie and Burgess was stuffed in the middle of the field leaving the East up by a point.
Jarod Richardson of Nash Central was the games defensive MVP. He had a game-high 11 tackles including four for losses.
Southern Durham defensive back Antonio Davis picked off a West pass attempt with 9:58 to play in the second quarter, setting up the Easts first score and the only score of the first half.
Davis stepped in front of a quick out pass by East Lincolns Garrett Young at the West 30-yard-line.
It was just reading the play, staying in my spot in the flats, Davis said of the interception. I just played my position and the ball came right to me. I just did what I had to do.
The East offense came onto the field and pounded the ball gradually down the field with Wilson Hunt grad Josh Joyner scooting around the left corner of the West defense, then diving for the goal, just stretching the ball across the goal line for the score with 7:33 to play in the first half.
Athens Drive grad Thomas Evanoff drilled the extra-point for a 7-0 East lead.
The East coaching staff was led by Randy Raper, the current head coach at Northern Nash and former Wilson Hunt head coach, and included former Broughton coach Chris Martin and Ken Avent Jr., the current Warsaw Kenan head coach and a former North Johnston head coach.
Greenville Conleys Walker Cummings recovered two West fumbles in the first half, but the East offense couldnt do anything with the ball either time.
The West squad did have two field goal attempts, from 43 and 44 yards by Cody Jones, but both missed the mark.
The game was played before a crowd of 6,523 at A.J. Simeon Stadium in High Point, breaking a string of 64 straight East-West football games played at Grimsley High Schools Jamesion Stadium in Greensboro. The game was shifted because of a renovation project at Grimsley.
Best: 919-524-8895; Twitter: @dclaybest