The West team won the lopsided affair 42-17, but the whole point of the week was to bond and build relationships with unfamiliar teammates and coaches.
“It’s so fun to work with a great group of kids like this,” said Elizabethton’s Shawn Witten, who coached the winning squad. “You read about these guys in the newspapers, see the highlights on film, and it’s cool to make it all fun and competitive.”
View the photo gallery from the game
Japheth Curtsinger of Cherokee was named defensive MVP for the West team after totaling four sacks and numerous other tackles. He also caught a touchdown pass from Elizabethton’s Carter Everett late in the game.
Dobyns-Bennett quarterback Lendon Redwine was the offensive MVP for the West squad.
Virginia High receiver Jamison Lathrop was the East team’s offensive MVP after accumulating 11 catches for 172 yards and one touchdown. Linebacker J.J. Hess of Richlands was the East’s defensive MVP.
The game originally was scheduled to be played at Emory & Henry College, but the snowstorm that hit the region last week forced the move to Dobyns-Bennett’s stadium.
“Practicing in the snow was one of the best parts. One day we’d practice and have 6 inches of snow and 20 yards. The next day, we’d have 60 yards,” Witten noted.
“One of the biggest things we had was kids from Thomas Walker coming to Kingsport for practice, which is like an hour and a half up the road twice a week. Everyone coming from both the Virginia and Tennessee sides was pretty cool.
“Without Gary (Maggard, the area’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative) and the FCA people across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, none of this would be possible,” Witten added. “It gives these kids one more opportunity to put that uniform on, and that’s special.”
The game was fairly even in the early going. The West led by only one score after Redwine hit receiver John Kollie of David Crockett for a 26-yard touchdown midway through the opening period, but the game started going south for the East in the second quarter.
The East got a 25-yard field goal by Tennessee High’s Alvaro Lopez in the second quarter, but the West answered when Everett connected with Micah Robinson of Crockett for a touchdown. The West scored again after an East fumble, this time Redwine hitting South Greene’s Tristan Biddy on a fade route from 10 yards away, and suddenly the East trailed 21-3.
Curtsinger and the entire West defensive line caused problems with the East’s dual quarterback system of Abingdon’s Gabe Boothe and Unaka’s John Ramsey, forcing them out of the pocket and into bad throws.
The West got the final score of the half when Dwayne Garrett of Lee High ran it in from a yard out, giving his side a 28-3 lead at intermission.
The East team scored two late touchdowns: on Boothe’s pass to Lathrop on a 25-yard post pattern and on Richlands running back Trey Brown 5-yard touchdown run with 20 seconds remaining.
The East had five failed fourth-down conversions, committed two turnovers and allowed 10 sacks. The East gained only 38 yards on the ground.
The West totaled 440 yards and had one failed fourth-down conversion, was intercepted once and fumbled once.
FCA ALL-STAR GAME
Saturday, Dec. 15
West 42, East 17
East........0 3 0 14 — 17
West.......7 21 7 7 — 42
W — Kollie 26 pass from Redwine (Walker kick)
E — Lopez 25 Field Goal
W — Robinson 25 pass from Everett (Walker kick)
W — Biddy 10 pass from Redwine (Walker kick)
W — Garrett 1 run (Walker kick)
W — Curtsinger 10 pass from Everett (Walker kick)
W — Harrell 7 run (Walker kick)
E — Lathrop 25 pass from Boothe (Jay kick)
E — Brown 5 run (Lopez kick)