East 35, West 23
For most of the high school seniors playing in the Good Samaritan Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium last night, the goal was simple: Have fun. It's doubtful anyone had more fun than Eric Westbrooks of Potomac High School.
Westbrooks earned most valuable player honors after making three catches for 175 yards and two flashy scores to lead the East to a 35-23 win over the West in a game featuring the area's top graduating seniors with I-95 serving as the approximate dividing line.
While holding the trophy and standing next to ex-Redskin Charles Mann, who helped form the Good Samaritan Foundation that sponsored the event, Westbrooks had a difficult time wiping the smile off his face.
"I was proving that I can ball. That I can ball with the best of them," said Westbrooks, who is scheduled to attend Delaware State in the fall. After the game, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder vowed that the schools who did not recruit him missed out. "I came here to get MVP. I've said it all week long. . . . I knew it."
The highlight of the night was perhaps Westbrooks's pump-and-go route down the left sideline that froze the defensive back and got him the step he needed for the ball to be dropped in his arms for a 68-yard touchdown. Westbrooks hadn't even reached the goal line before he started celebrating, pointing to the stands and eventually spiking the ball like a grenade and falling backward to the ground.
"All-star games are about having fun," Westbrooks said. "I came here to prove it but at the same time to have fun."
East Coach Eric Knight was also Westbrooks's coach at Potomac, which captured the Maryland 2A title in December, so he knew to get Westbrooks the ball.
"He's been doing this all year," Knight said. "He was Mr. Clutch on our team this year."
All-Met Offensive Player of the Year Ike Whitaker got the ball for a good portion of the game for the West team, but didn't fair as well with it in his hands. Whitaker, who will play at Virginia Tech in the fall after leading Northwest to the 3A title last fall, struggled en route to a 4-of-23 night passing with three interceptions.
"He probably hasn't seen that type of pressure from such an athletic and quick defensive line," Knight said of Whitaker. "It was frustrating him. He was hurrying his passes."