East scores 30 unanswered points; pounds West 37-22
Written by: Josh Funk on Friday, June 19th, 2009
ALTOONA, Pa. – Jeremiah Young. Franklin Quiteh. Zach Barket. Those were three big names for the East squad who figured to play key roles in their team’s effort in the 9th Annual PSFCA East/West All-Star Game.
Tom Ryan, though, stole the show. So did Zach Zulli.
Zulli (Perkiomen Valley) accounted for 118 yards of offense and one touchdown, and Ryan (Father Judge) returned a punt and an interception for scores as the East pummeled the West 37-22 from Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona.
The win helped the East lay claim to a 6-3 all-time series lead, snapping a two-game losing streak to their western counterparts. The East last won in 2006, 20-14.
“They (the West) were talking smack all week, and we were sick of it,” Zulli said.
But, early on, it appeared the West was going to keep on talking.
The East, in the first half, turned the ball over three times (two fumbles and an interception), and, to further compound the problems, lost Jeremiah Young (Steelton-Highspire) to an injury to his right knee.
Young did return to the sideline on crutches, his right leg in a brace. The injury might be a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Staked to a 10-0 lead courtesy of a Jarrin Campman 35-yard touchdown pass to Josh Vermeulen (Gateway) and a 25-yard field goal from Matt Oczypock (Pittsburgh Central Catholic), the West appeared to be in business.
But then, the black and gold caught a bad case of coughing up the football.
A failed fourth down pass on a botched snap set up the East, and John Nurthen (Great Valley) capped the drive with a three-yard scoring run to cut the West lead to 10-7.
Daryl Klotz (Bethlehem Liberty) recovered a fumble on the West’s ensuing possession, and Zulli (89 passing yards, TD; 29 rushing yards) hooked up with Jared Bausch (Lower Dauphin Area) from six yards out to make it 14-10.
Ryan then took over. His 44-yard interception return upped the margin to 21-10, and his 42-yard punt return made it 28-10.
“We knew if our defense could keep up, we’d be all right,” Ryan said.
The East was more than all right. They were cruising.
Charles Lee (Lebanon) sacked Tyler Wehner (Thomas Jefferson) for a safety to make it 30-10, and JC Smolke (Halifax) capped the East scoring with a 16-yard fumble return.
“You can’t make turnovers and expect to win football games,” said West head coach Scott Heinauer (Mars). “We turned it over six times in a row.”
The West got two late scores on touchdown passes from Campman. Both strikes, covering 66 and 12 yards, respectively, went to Christian Kuntz (Camp Hill Trinity). One of those scores was set up by a Pierre Carr (Peabody) 48-yard dart down the home sideline.
East coach Mark Evans summed up the experience in a couple of words: “Pretty fun,” the ELCO head man said.
And as for Ryan’s electric punt return: “That play was sick on the sideline,” he said.
NOTES: Wehner was a shell of himself from his last performance on the Mansion Park turf. In December against West York Area, #3 threw for 274 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-21 victory. This night, he was just 4-of-13 for 15 yards with an interception.
TJ had three athletes on the West squad, tying the most for any one team with Gateway. Jaguar head coach Bill Cherpak noted pregame that this was the best representation any of his previous Jaguar teams have had in the game.
Zach Barket finished with 8 carries for 14 yards. Young had 3 carries for 14 yards before his injury, and Franklin Quiteh (Pocono Mountain West) finished with 7 carries for 11 yards.
Carr had the game high in rushing yards, finishing with 10 carries for 83 yards. It’s the second straight year a City League player had a notable performance in the game. Last year, Carrick’s James Jett caught two of the West’s four completed passes for 50 yards.
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