Central Catholic, Sto-Rox stars shine in East/West all-star football game
The day may come in the next four years when future Maryland quarterback Perry Hills is dissecting a Syracuse secondary featuring Dontez Ford in front of a boisterous college crowd.
They'll always have the day they were teammates, though.
Hills, a Central Catholic senior, found the Sto-Rox standout Ford for two of his four touchdowns on the way to earning West MVP honors Sunday at the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East/West All-Star Game at Gateway.
The offense was appreciated, too, as the West outlasted the East, 45-24, in the highest-scoring edition of the decade-old game, which benefits Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
“To have the best receivers I could have, they really made big plays for me,” said Hills, who went 8 for 9 passing for 273 yards in two quarters. “I'm grateful to have them as teammates and come out with the win.”
Ford, who was recruited to Syracuse as a defensive back, made the biggest plays in a four-catch, 184-yard performance that included another scoring grab from Akron-bound Tyrone quarterback Steve Franco. Among the highlights were a streaking 80-yard touchdown in the second quarter and an 88-yard score after Hills collected an errant snap in the end zone to find a wide-open Ford early in the fourth.
“I thought (Hills) was just going to throw it away because it was a run play,” Ford said. “He looked up and lifted his head, and I said it's coming to me. I knew I had to catch it. I got it, and everybody just shouted: ‘Score! Score! Score!' ”
After overcoming a three-turnover first quarter, they did that often through the muggy afternoon at Antimarino Stadium.
The West's output set a new game record for points scored, breaking the East's mark of 39 in 2004. It was also the West's first victory since 2008 in the series, which the East still leads, 7-4 — the game wasn't played a year ago due to sponsorship issues.
“It's a good experience,” said McKeesport receiver Jamar Clark, who had two catches for 73 yards, including a leaping 32-yard grab from Hills. “We came out lackadaisical. Then, we picked it up.”
Montour's Darren Massey made an impact on two catches, as well. His 74-yard grab set up Ford's first touchdown in the opening quarter, Hills found him in the back of the end zone for a 13-yard score just before halftime.
“(Hills) is a great quarterback, easy to work with,” Massey said. “We had two days of practices and had great sessions. We connected immediately.”
But it wasn't a total passing party for the West. Helping to secure the win late, Rochester running DeAndre Moon rushed 12 times for 120 yards and a 19-yard score.