TAMPA — Using an aggressive and opportunistic defense led by lineman Shawn Council, the East All-Stars forced five turnovers en route to a 20-0 victory over the West in the Hillsborough County All-Star football game Saturday at Raymond James Stadium.
Council, a senior from Brandon, was named the East's Most Valuable Player, registering three sacks and consistently tormenting the trio of West quarterbacks.
Due in large part to the play of Council and Durant's Daivonte Lumpkin, the West offense never found a rhythm and struggled to move the ball or sustain drives all night.
"I was surprised at first," Council said of being named MVP, "but if feels great to know I was one of the top players out there tonight."
"His speed," said East coach Todd Donahoe of Strawberry Crest, "was a differencemaker for us."
Freedom coach Tchecoy Blount, who helped coach the East defensive unit, had nothing but praise for Council.
"I tell you, if he was over 6-foot, he would be one of the top recruits in the nation," Blount said. "You can't coach what he has: heart, determination and the will to win."
A case for East MVP could also have been made for Spoto's Tyron Baker, the sure-handed receiver who had a pair of touchdowns.
Baker, who had 1,134 receiving yards this season for the Spartans, hooked up on his second touchdown with quarterback Nick Addison, his Spoto teammate.
"We have a special play that we call near the end zone," Baker said of their 12-yard scoring play with 20 seconds left in the game. "He gets me the ball, and I always score in that situation."
Connor Bass of Durant added field goals of 29 and 42 yards to round out the scoring for the East.