Jonathan Carpenter's 13-yard scoring pass to Victor Taylor with 17 seconds left gave the West a surprising 8-7 victory over the East in the 15th annual D.C. Coaches All-Star football game last night at RFK Stadium.
Trailing, 7-2, the West drove 73 yards in the final 2:47, aided by a holding penalty and Sherman Jacobs' 24-yard reception.
The penalty put the ball on the East 10-yard line with 39 seconds to play, but the West held until fourth down when Taylor ran a down-and-out pattern to the left side for the score.
The East ran two plays in the final 12 seconds but was stopped.
"It was the first time I've been in that situation and I'm glad we scored. It's a great feeling to be able to do something like that in this game," said Cardozo's Carpenter.
"Probably the greatest moment of my life so far," echoed the 5-foot-7, 155-pound Taylor, who is nicknamed Smurf.
The East appeared in control late in the game following a botched punt, on which West punter Kevin Kane had to scramble and made only three yards. The East had the ball at the 28, but on third down, East quarterback Kenny Jones threw a pass which was intercepted by Mike McDonald.
Jones was 10 yards over the line of scrimmage when he threw. Naturally, the West declined the penalty and kept the ball.
Earlier in the fourth quarter the West scored its first points when Lamont McCreary's snap sailed over Spingarn punter Clifton Johnson's head into the end zone for a safety that trimmed the East lead to 7-2.
Despite predictions that the East offense, with 10 H.D. Woodson players in the lineup, would outman them, the West defensive players came up with big plays throughout the game.
They made only one mistake in the first half. Spingarn quarterback Luther Piles was allowed to roll 20 yards untouched for the East's touchdown. That came at 8:18 of the second quarter.
"We rose to the occasion. We showed them that size wasn't the only thing that was important," said West linebacker Darrell Miller of Wilson. "Things looked bad, but we told our offense 'we'll get you the ball, you just get it in the end zone.' The East took us too lightly and we showed them they shouldn't have done that."
Until the final quarter the game was a defensive struggle. Both coaches had promised wide-open offense, but both teams had trouble establishing themselves in the first 24 minutes.
The West offense committed six turnovers, three of them interceptions off quarterback Kane, and did not get a first down until midway through the third period. But the East, except for the one drive that produced the touchdown, was little better.
Despite a size advantage on the offensive line, the East failed to control the tempo of the game and starting quarterback Jones repeatedly had to scramble to avoid being sacked. He failed to complete a pass in the first half.
"I had to tell my players one thing at halftime, 'Don't quit,' " said West Coach Chris Bullock. "They could have given up and I'm really proud they hung in there.
"I couldn't have asked for a better way to finish it, to win it on our last play of the game . . . against a coach as good as (Woodson's) Bob Headen."