All-star game: Sunlake's Justin Hall sparks West's comeback late
LAND O' LAKES — It was shaping up to be a Pasco County All-Star Game all about the small schools. Especially when Mykh'ael Chavis, from Zephyrhills Christian, churned in for a 9-yard touchdown run with 1:12 remaining to give the East a 21-13 lead.
But that was enough time for the host school's quarterback, and a couple of familiar friends, to change the script. Sunlake's Justin Hall orchestrated a four-play drive that covered 74 yards, then added the tying two-point conversion pass to Gulf's Issaiah Groen, and the West went on to an exciting 27-21 overtime victory.
Overall MVP Cyler Doran (Hudson), one of three West quarterbacks, was inserted for his running ability and it paid off when he scooted through the defense for the 8-yard winning score on third down.
But it was Hall's 4-for-4 performance on the tying drive that keyed the comeback. The first two passes went to fellow Seahawk Tyler Peretti for 20 and 38 yards, and after a swing pass to Braxton Johnson (Anclote) for 6, Hall (11-of-15 for 161 yards) found another Sunlake player Cris Galdos for a 10-yard TD over the middle.
"I guess it just comes naturally at this point," Hall said of connecting with his Seahawk teammates. "I just credit Coach (Jay) Fulmer for putting trust in me. He let me call the plays on the last drive."
Ridgewood's Fulmer led the West while Pasco's Tom McHugh was the East coach. He gave plenty of spotlight to players from smaller schools, including the QB/RB combo of Gilbert Estein and Luis Valentin (45 yards) from Bishop McLaughlin. Another Hurricane, Marc Herrera, set up the East's go-ahead fourth-quarter TD with an interception.
The East won the turnover battle 4-1, with Spencer Childress (Land O' Lakes) and Kyle Brown (Wesley Chapel) recovering fumbles in a first half that ended 7-7. Dylan Bryan (Wiregrass Ranch) also had an interception.
Big runs by Hudson's Reymente Turner (eight carries, 43 yards) and Ridgewood's Chris Melton (four, 60) set up Johnson's 2-yard TD that had the West up 13-7 heading into the fourth quarter. But after the Herrera pick, Chavis broke three solid gains and Wesley Chapel QB Jacob Thomas scrambled in from 5 yards for a 14-13 lead with 7:30 remaining.
Chavis ran for 74 yards on 12 carries to earn offensive MVP honors. Wesley Chapel's Christian Austin, who had a sack and a key rush to help case the turnover on downs that led to Chavis' second score, was top defensive lineman. Mitchell's Matthew Hegwood won O-line honors and Herrera was the defensive MVP.
Taino Arocho of Anclote made a big tackle for loss on third down in overtime. forcing a long East field goal that missed.
The game also saw the first action of the year from Zephyrhills standout Antwione Sims, who missed all of the regular season due to a knee injury.
A strong crowd was on hand and numerous small college scouts were on the sidelines.