NEWTOWN — The second rendition of the East-West All-Star Classic at Mingo Central High School’s Buck Harless Stadium was shaping up to be a fantastic finish.
The West All-Stars were leading the East 13-7 with 9:14 left in Saturday night’s showdown but a bench-clearing brawl halted action and the game was called.
The West was awarded the victory and the final nine minutes and change of the game was never played.
It was the second year in a row the East-West was marred by a brawl.
Last year, the West beat the East 35-0 and an on-field fight between players occurred in that game as well. But last year, the players were separated and the game resumed and was eventually finished.
Not on Saturday night.
Players were told to go to the locker room after the fight was over and that was it.
A litany of third quarter penalties added fuel to the fire of growing animosity between the opposing sides. Some indirect remarks concerning gameplay from the West’s sideline sparked some quick actions from the East players in retaliation that resulted in the game ending fight.
West coach Joey Fields said the fight was very unfortunate.
“This was very unfortunate,” he said. “This game is about the kids. There was some misunderstanding and things got way out of control.”
The fracas spoiled an overall good game as both teams appeared to be evenly matched.
Despite numerous penalties, especially in the third quarter, it was an overall well played game.
The West scored its only touchdown of the game in an old Logan-to-Logan connection as QB Ryan Miller hit his old Wildcat teammate Zac Acord on a 47-yard touchdown strike with 8:15 left until halftime. After Tyler Harrison’s extra point kick, the West led 10-0.
West All-Star QB Ryan Miller of Logan completes a deep pass to old Logan teammate Zac Acord in Saturday night’s East-West All-Star Classic football game at Mingo Central.
The strong-legged Harrison also booted two field goals. The first was a 21-yarder with 2:18 to go in the first quarter which put the West on top 3-0.
Harrison’s second field goal came from 32 yards out with 7:28 left in the third period, giving the West a 13-7 edge.
It proved to be the last points of the game.
The East’s only touchdown and score of the game was with 50 seconds left in the second quarter as quarterback Aaron Griffith of Wyoming East hit his old Warriors’ teammate Nik Walker on a 30-yard strike. Tristan Jones, also of Wyoming East, split the uprights on the PAT.
“I was extremely proud of how our kids played,” Fields said. “We were standing very strong on defense and were making things happen offensively. These guys have such great talent and are really great athletes.”
The West outgained the East 176-173 in total yards in the shortened game.
Miller was 8-for-15 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown to lead the West. Starting QB Nate Adkins of Wayne was 1-for-2 passing for five yards.
West All-Star quarterback Nate Adkins of Wayne High School runs for good yards on a keeper.
Acord caught three passes for 90 yards, including the score. Zac Casto of Chapmanville Regional High School reeled in two passes for 25 yards. One of his catches was a spectacular leaping 28-yard grab.
The West had 31 rushes for 63 net yards. Chase Justice of Mingo Central was limited to 26 yards on 14 carries. Adkins had another 19 yards on six attempts. Tucker Watts of Wayne had four totes for eight yards. Tyler Schaffer of Sissonville had three carries for 19 yards.
Schaffer also had one catch for nine yards. Justice had two catches.
The East All-Stars had trouble running the ball and had 13 carries for minus-three yards.
West All-Star Bo Jeffrey breaks up a pass from East QB Aaron Griffith of Wyoming East.
Griffith, who would have probably been the East’s Most Valuable Player, was 13-for-21 passing for 176 yards for the game.
Jordan Wilson (River View) finished with three catches for 70 yards. Walker had three catches for 38 yards. Bryce Robinson (Westside) had two catches for 11 yards. Ron Blanks (Beckley Woodrow Wilson) snared one pass for 21 yards as did Marlin Marrs (Mount View). Tim Nowlin (Mount View) had one catch for 10 yards. Chris Blankenship (Beckley Woodrow Wilson) had one grab for six yards.
Holly Fields of Riverside High School was named at halftime as the East-West All-Star Classic Queen.
The East All-Stars were coached by Larry Cook of Westside High School.
— William Plaster of the Williamson Daily News contributed to this report