West 34, East 7
It was an odd sensation for Culpeper graduate Kent Hicks. The University of Maryland signee was playing in the Virginia High School Coaches Association senior all-star football game Friday night at the same time that teammates-to-be were playing in front of Terrapins fans in the Maryland senior all-star game.
Despite the distance from his future pals and supporters, word is likely to travel that the 6-foot-3, 205-pound defensive back recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass to earn West defensive player of the game honors in his team's 34-7 win over the East in front of an announced crowd of 6,114 at Darling Stadium.
The 27-point differential tied for the largest winning margin in the 33-year history of the game. The East won the 1976 matchup, 27-0. The West leads the series, 18-15.
"I tried not to think about [the Maryland all-star game] too much," said Hicks, a second-team All-Met selection. "I tried to focus on what was at hand. I didn't let that bother me too much."
Hicks returned a fumble 27 yards to set up a touchdown in the second quarter and ran back his interception 26 yards in the fourth period.
Hylton All-Met Deon Butler had a hand in the win both offensively and defensively, catching a 40-yard touchdown pass for the West's final touchdown and playing many series at defensive back.
As for some of the other local players, Chip Vaughn (Robinson) made a stretching grab on third and 10 to sustain a scoring possession in the first half. Justin Born (Westfield) was the holder for kicker Trey Mitchell (Radford), who connected on all four extra points and booted field goals of 36 and 32 yards.
All-Met defensive lineman Olu Hall (Robinson) served as one of the West's three captains, and linebacker Endor Cooper (Hylton) returned a blocked punt for a touchdown that was called back because the game has a rule that prohibits rushing the punter. The other All-Mets chosen for the game were linebacker Kevin Grant (Herndon), offensive lineman John Bradshaw (Stafford) and safety A.J. Brown (Liberty), the latter of whom was on the East team.
On the East's first six offensive possessions, it fumbled three times, punted twice and turned the ball over on downs. The East players hailed in large part from the Richmond and Hampton Roads areas.
The first half belonged to West quarterback Jacob Phillips (Bath County) and receiver Brandon Turner (Gretna), who teamed up seven times for 134 yards and two touchdowns to stake the West to a 27-0 lead. Phillips was the West offensive MVP. He completed 12 of 25 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception.