Flash offensive a nice birthday present
CONWAY — Tom Sears said he didn’t expect his new age to be surpassed by his Eastern team’s points on the scoreboard.
East beat West 54-9 on Saturday in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Football Game at Estes Stadium in celebration of Sears’ 51st birthday.
The East featured a trio of offensive weapons that took turns terrorizing the West’s defense. El Dorado’s Jackie Washington, Cabot’s Braden Jay and McGehee’s Jody Easter combined for 330 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Late in the third quarter, Easter also got involved on the field, scoring on a late rush. Easter was named the game’s best guard with 168 all-around yards and two touchdowns.
Hot Springs Lakeside’s Chase Cross was the star offensive player for the West, finishing with four catches for 161 receiving yards and a touchdown.
West held a 9-7 lead after the first quarter thanks to a 55-yard touchdown pass from Benton’s Stran Smith to Cross. But this would be the West’s last offensive outing.
East outscored West 22-0 in the second quarter, thanks to a pair of touchdowns by Jay, another by Easter and a safety by Devin Brown of Clarendon.
East has scored 46 straight points with Nettleton’s Cameron Scarlett and Hoxie’s Cade Forrester splitting time at quarterback. Scarlett, who will play collegiately at Dodge City (Kan.) Community College, was named the game’s MVP after passing for 200 yards and three touchdowns.
Scarlett made several impressive throws, but said having as many guns as those on display for the East made her job much easier.
“It makes a difference day and night,” Scarlett said. “When you can sit there and have your receivers working for free, that’s money.”
Forrester nearly matched Scarlett’s numbers, throwing for 181 yards and three touchdowns.
“I think they both played very well,” said Sears, who coaches Hoxie. “I thought Cade was maybe a little tight at first. And then he hit a few and loosened up a bit.”
The Pulaski Academy Class 5A champion has rep on Saturday in kicker Vaughn Seelicke. He made his only field goal attempt and was responsible for the kickoffs. In typical AP fashion, the East used Seelicke to attempt onside kicks on multiple occasions, converting one with 5:56 left in the second quarter.
The East defense did its part, forcing multiple turnovers, leading to 17 points. West Memphis’ Malcolm Perry received the best defensive back award for his game, which was highlighted by a one-handed interception in the second quarter.
“We struggled a bit offensively all week because our defense is so good,” Sears said. “I knew that once we were here against someone else, everything would be fine.”
Scarlett echoed Sears’ sentiments, crediting players like Cabot’s Justin Sobezck, who had two sacks, with helping him prepare to face West.
“There are some beasts on that side of the defense, you know. They came out and they were going to be the best defense on the pitch,” Scarlett said. “I think playing against that during the week really prepared us for [play]. Sometimes size can be intimidating, especially when you’re, you know, a shorter guy. But going out there and training all week against a big defense and coming out here and showing what we can do.”