SHEFFIELD — It looked safe for the East after John McGraw scored his second touchdown of the night to give his team an
18-7 lead with 3:30 to play.
It took the West one play — one long play — to make matters interesting. It became more tense as the West got the ball back with 2:08 to play.
But after an 18-yard run by Mark Jones got the West to its own 38-yard line, everything unraveled. Three incomplete passes, two motion penalties and a sack ended the West’s final shot at the victory with 19 seconds remaining.
The East survived for an 18-15 win in the 26th edition of the Lorain County All-Star football game Saturday at Brookside High School.
Steve Duplaga of Columbia was named Most Valuable Player for the East. Duplaga completed six of eight passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
“It ends four years of hard work,” Duplaga said of the MVP award. “I’m honored to be in this all-star game, and this (MVP) plaque doesn’t just go to me. It goes to the whole team. The line blocking, the receivers making spectacular catches, the defense coming up with stops, all won the game.”
The spectacular catches happened in the first half, when the East wiped out a 7-0 deficit. Elyria’s Jordan Thomas set up the first East touchdown with a juggling grab of a Duplaga pass that covered 49 yards on a third-and-10 and got the East to the West’s 8-yard line. Pete Zagorsky of Brookside finished the drive with a 6-yard reception from Duplaga on third down.
McGraw was on the receiving end of the second spectacular catch. McGraw escaped a tackle and completed a 42-yard pass play with 1:41 to go before halftime to give the East a 12-7 lead.
The defense came up with four stops on fourth downs and sacked Midview’s Chase Williams, the West’s quarterback, three times. The big one came when Zagorsky and Josh Pack of Avon Lake converged on Williams at the West’s 28-yard line on third down and less than a minute remaining. Sonny Hazelwood of Elyria and Justin Rogerson of North Ridgeville also had sacks.
Scott Gib Given of Midview was MVP for the West. Given cut the East’s lead to 18-13 by taking a screen pass from Williams in the left flat and dashing 78 yards to the end zone with three minutes left. Williams ran straight up the middle for the 2-point conversion.
Jones, who led all rushers with 80 yards on 14 carries, scored the West’s other TD, on a 3-yard run with 8:20 to play in the first half.
McGraw led the East’s rushers. The North Ridgeville star had 49 yards on 13 carries in the second half after gaining just 10 yards on six attempts in the first half.
“They (the West) were filling in the box with eight or nine guys,” McGraw said. “At halftime I said, ‘Let’s run some play-action and make them respect the passing game.’ The line started picking up and opening holes.”
McGraw’s second TD came on a 3-yard run, capping a 20-play, 82-yard drive. The big gain in that possession was a 23-yard Duplaga-to-Zagorsky pass on second-and-12.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
East 18, West 15
West 0 7 0 8 — 15
East 0 12 0 6 — 18
W — Mark Jones 3 run (Adam Reighly kick)
E — Pete Zagorsky 6 pass from Steve Duplaga (run failed)
E — John McGraw, 42 pass from Duplaga (pass failed)
E — McGraw 3 run (kick failed)
W — Scott Gib Given 78 pass from Chase Williams (Williams run)
First downs 12 10
— by rushing 10 6
— by passing 2 4
— by penalty 0 0
Yards rushing 150 91
Yards passing 112 167
Total offense 262 258
Passes att./comp. 13/6 8/6
Intercepted by 0 0
Fumbles/lost 1/0 2/0
Penalties/yards 5/30 2/21
RUSHING — (W) Mark Jones 14-80, Jason Loushin 15-58, Scott Gib Given 4-27, Chase Williams 5-(-17). (E) John McGraw 19-59, Elliot Rodrigues 4-20, Ryan Klink 2-6, Pete Zagorsky 3-6, Drew Becker 1-0.
PASSING — (W) Chase Williams 6-13-112. (E) Steve Duplaga 6-8-167.
RECEIVING — (W) Scott Gib Given 4-91, Jason Loushin 1-15, Andrew Whited 1-6. (E) John McGraw 2-48, Pete Zagorsky 2-29, Jordan Thomas 1-49, David Banyasz 1-41.
CARL SULLENBERGER / CHRONICLE
North Ridgeville’s John McGraw breaks away from Midview’s Joe Harder and scores a touchdown Saturday at Brookside.