TAMPA — For a game that featured spectacular catches and runs, timely interceptions and a breakout star among the stars, the Hillsborough County all-star football game Sunday evening at Raymond James Stadium ended on a disappointing note as the West squad was unable to kick a potential winning field goal before time expired, giving the East an 8-6 victory.
After Alonso receiver Justin Davis turned a screen pass into a 51-yard gain that put the West at the East 5-yard line, the West ran the ball three consecutive times to run time off. With a little more than 15 seconds remaining, the West coaching staff, led by Carrollwood Day's Lane McLaughlin, signaled to the referees for a timeout.
Although the scoreboard showed each team with one timeout remaining, the referees immediately yelled to the sideline that the West had none. Confusion set in, and the West field goal unit was unable to set up in time. The referees huddled afterward, compared notes and agreed the West was out of timeouts.
"It's definitely a disappointing way to lose, but we felt we won the game and we did a lot more things to prove it," said Davis, who finished with three receptions for 65 yards. "Playing in this atmosphere was amazing, and I can see myself back on (an NFL) field in the future."
While Davis has offers from Division I-A programs such as Louisville and Arkansas, the West player of the game, Sickles receiver Chris Nahat, used the contest to showcase his ability. Nahat had the ball thrown to him four times, catching all four for a game-high 123 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown reception from Middleton quarterback Willie Clay.
"It was great playing with some amazing players and even more amazing playing against a team like that," said Nahat, who said he has not received any significant offers. "I had to step up to play in a game like this, and I hope I showed everyone I could play on Saturdays."
The East won despite being outgained 324-111. The West's trio of quarterbacks, which included Clay, Jesuit's Bobby Eveld and Carrollwood Day's Billy Embody, combined to complete 13 of 25 passes for 244 yards, but they also threw three interceptions.
One of those picks came courtesy of Spoto cornerback Khayri McCray, who scored from 28 yards out to give the East the lead.
"We had been in a dime Tallahassee, which is a straight man, but then we went into a Cover Two, and I stood in the flats and let them think I was going to stick with the man coming across," said McCray, who earned the player of the game honors for the East. "When the quarterback threw it, I was like, 'No, he didn't.' I just caught it and thought touchdown."
The East went for two using its "Tank" formation — every player on the field was either an offensive or defensive linemen. Newsome lineman Garret Fuglar handed off to Freedom lineman Michael Gassaway, who plunged in.
After Nahat's score for the West, the two-point conversion failed when Embody threw to Jesuit running back Robbie Garcia, who was hit just before the goal line and denied.