By Keith Tolbert
GREENSBORO â€“ Kelton Shepherd admitted that he didnâ€™t know what it felt like to lose.
As a member of the Dudley football team for the past two years, Shepherd had been involved in a lot of winning, including state championships. But as a member of the West All-Star team, he got to experience losing when the East beat the West 6-0 Wednesday night and it left a bad taste in his mouth.
â€œI donâ€™t know how to lose,â€ Shepherd said. â€œItâ€™s kind of tough, but Iâ€™ll be alright.â€
Shepherdâ€™s teammate at Dudley, Ricky Lewis Jr, said he was very disappointed to close out his high school career with a loss, but he wouldnâ€™t trade the experience for anything.
â€œIt was my last game and I didnâ€™t win, but it was all for fun,â€ Lewis said. â€œIf I could do it all again, I would.â€
Shepherd, a defensive lineman, and the rest of the West defense did all they could to keep the West in the game. They completely shut down the East in the first half, allowing only 68 yards of total offense.
â€œOur coach said they brought in a lot of big dudes for a power (running) game,â€ said Shepherd, who finished with eight tackles and two forced fumbles. â€œWe knew they would be doing more running than passing. We were just getting off the ball like our coach told us.â€
But Lewis, who started at quarterback for the West, and the rest of the offense couldnâ€™t execute when they needed to, especially in the red zone. Lewis spent most of the game playing running back, but did complete a 39-yard pass on a reverse in the first quarter.
That set up the Westâ€™s first scoring opportunity, but it couldnâ€™t cash in and a 36-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
â€œWe knew the East was going to be good,â€ Lewis said. â€œThey were just too big and blowing us off the line.â€
The East used excellent field position to move the ball well in the first quarter, but couldnâ€™t get on the board. One drive ended due to a fumble and the second drive ended in West territory after a penalty.
The West moved the ball effectively on its second possession with two 39-yard passes, one by Dudleyâ€™s Ricky Lewis, but couldnâ€™t execute in the red zone. A 36-yard field goal attempt by Zack Pickard from Southern Alamance was wide right.
The West looked to score on its only possession of the second quarter, moving the all 89 yards. But first and goal at the nine was quickly third and goal at the 10 and quarterback A.J. Bazzle waited too long to throw into the end zone and was picked off by Jerrod White from Jack Britt.
The East fumbled and recovered on its next possession, but that play put them in a hole and they punted. The West punted back to them three plays later and the East ended the half with only two plays.
The scoring drought continued in the third quarter, with neither team mounting a serious threat. The East started a drive at its 29 late in the quarter and methodically marched down the field.
The drive continued into the fourth quarter with running backs KaRonne Jones and Steven Moore doing most of the damage. The East got into the red zone for the first time all game and took advantage of it. Moore scored form five yards out with 9:11 to play in the game. The extra point was blocked and the East had a 6-0 lead.
â€œI was just disappointed that they scored,â€ Shepherd said. â€œThat kind of brought our spirits down. We tried. We gave it 110 percent. You canâ€™t ask for more than that.â€
First downs 12 16
Rushing yards 47-174 30-65
Passes 1-0-0 8-17-1
Passing yards 0 128
Fumbles/lost 4-0 3-0
Penalties 5-30 4-25
Punts 6-31.7 5-37.6
By quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
East 0 0 0 6 6
West 0 0 0 0 0
East â€“ Steven Moore 5 run (kick blocked)