ELYRIA — Dustin Stolarski took awhile to get going Friday night at the 31st annual Lorain County Senior All-Star football game.
The heralded Elyria High quarterback, who will graduate tonight holding virtually every Elyria passing mark, missed on his first four attempts and mishandled an errant snap from the shotgun to help spot West a 21-6 first-quarter lead.
Then he started to click.
He accounted for 316 offensive yards and figured in on 30 points in leading East to a 49-27 victory. It was the highest-scoring All-Star Game ever.
Stolarski and Firelands quarterback Kyle Smith were selected the game’s MVPs for their squads. Smith accounted for most of West’s offensive numbers in the free-wheeling affair.
“It was fun,” Stolarski said. “It was fun to have MiMi (Elyria’s Demetrius Walton) out there. I know he’ll catch it. It was fun to play with the whole county. It was good to see all the talent.”
“I just want a shout-out to Dustin for being named the MVP,” said Walton, who caught three passes and nearly turned one into a score. “He’s been my quarterback for four years. He’s a pretty good player.”
Stolarski threw to seven receivers, including a perfect strike to a wide-open Ryan Mains of Midview to draw East within 21-14 early in the second quarter.
East tied the game early in the second half on another great improvised play by Stolarski. He avoided a heavy rush by sweeping to the left side, then stopped long enough to pick up some big blocks to spring him on a 12-yard touchdown run.
“No. 41 (Vermilion’s Jason Anthony), give him credit. He hits hard,” Stolarski said. “I saw (Elyria Catholic’s Alex) Nielson coming across the field and I stopped. He took care of him and I went right back to it. It was a great block by Nielson.”
Stolarski added the icing on a botched point-after attempt. He picked up the snap, rolled left and found his kicker open for a 2-point conversion to finish the scoring.
“That just happened,” Stolarski said of his heads-up pass to Bryce Ziegman, a last-minute replacement on the East squad. “The (West) kid off the corner read it perfectly and I just lofted it over his head. Perfect. Bryce was there. He did what he was supposed to do — get to the flat. It worked out.”
It didn’t appear anything would work out for East at the outset. Lorain’s Reggie Williams got West on the board first with a 65-yard punt return and Smith somehow eluded three would-be tacklers for a spectacular 33-yard TD run with 6:10 left in the first quarter. His 2-point pass play to Lorain’s Collin Bryant had West in front 14-0.
“Every little thing we did during the game kind of backfired on us,” said Elyria coach Kevin Fell, whose staff handled East’s team. “We couldn’t onside. We couldn’t get a fourth down. They ran a punt back on us. That kept them in the game.
“Bryce just joined us at the last minute and he hasn’t been kicking since last year. They picked up that (onside attempt) and ran it back. I’ve never seen that.”
East scored on a Stolarski 9-yard pass to Avon’s Tyler Lance, but when it tried an onside kick that failed to go the required 10 yards, Lorain’s Cedric Peyton picked up the loose ball and rambled 46 yards to put West in front 21-6 following Smith’s extra point.
“We were just playing football and having fun,” said Smith, who plans to play quarterback at Allegheny College in the fall. “We just put the rivalries behind us and played football.”
Smith hooked up with Nick Deichler for a huge 58-yard score where Deichler carried three tacklers into the end zone the final 5 yards to tie the game at 27 before East took command.
Lance scored on two passes and Avon Lake’s Dontez Smith added two rushing touchdowns for East. Elyria Catholic’s Joe Dempsey added a spark in the second half with 57 yards on the ground and one score.
Amherst’s coaching staff, headed by Chad DiFranco, coached the West.
GREAT CLASS: Keystone’s Ted Gordon and Clearview’s John Szalay — two coaches who seem to be around every season during the school year — were the Lorain County Coaches Hall of Fame selections. Both have been instrumental in their schools’ football programs, even though both are more known as wrestling (Gordon) and basketball (Szalay) coaches.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
East 49, West 27
West 21 0 6 0 — 27
East 6 8 20 15 — 49
W— Reggie Williams 65 punt return (kick failed)
W— Kyle Smith 33 run (Collin Bryant pass from K.Smith)
E – Tyler Lance 9 pass from Dustin Stolarski (pass failed)
W – Cedric Peyton 46 kick return (K.Smith kick)
E – Ryan Manns 82 pass from Stolarski (Lance pass from Stolarski)
E – Stolarski 12 run (Bryce Ziegman kick)
E – Dontez Smith 1 run (kick failed)
W – Nick Deichler 58 pass from K.Smith (kick failed)
E—Joe Dempsey 19 run (Ziegman kick)
E—Lance 1 pass from Stolarski (Ziegman kick)
E— D.Smith 20 run (Ziegman pass from Stolarski)
First downs 6 19
— by rushing 3 7
— by passing 2 11
— by penalty 1 1
Yards rushing 26 141
Yards passing 113 293
Total offense 139 434
Passes att./comp. 20/11 28/16
Intercepted by 0 0
Fumbles/lost 2/2 2/1
Penalties/yards 5/45 3/30
RUSHING — (W) Matt Jordan 10-29, Nick Deichler 5-15, Kyle Smith 10-5, Collin Bryant 1-4. Team 1-(-27). (E) Dontez Smith 7-57, Jacob Bennett 7-33, Dustin Stolarski 10-23, Joe Dempsey 7-57. Team 1-(-22).
PASSING — (W) Kyle Smith 11-19-113-1-0, Collin Bryant 0-1-0-0-0. (E) Dustin Stolarski 16-28-293-3-0.
RECEIVING — (W) Nick Deichler 5-71, Joe Kudela 2-14, Matt Jordan 1-5, Josh Zenkert 1-10, Collin Bryant 1-4. (E) Demetrius Walton 3-63, Christian Watkins 4-44, Patrick Linn 3-37, Ryan Mains 2-94, Jacob Bennett 1-13, Jake Mullins 1-19, Shane Lambert 1-23.