By Leo Haggerty
Archived under Featured Articles – College and Bowl Games

 It was one of the more entertaining, as well as high scoring, affairs in recent East – West Shrine Bowl memory.  With the lead changing hands four times in the final quarter, the East scored with less than two minutes to go and hung on to win 31-27.

 The East took the opening kickoff and drew first blood after only 4:01.  QB James Morgan (Florida International) found WR Ja’Marcus Bradley (Louisiana) for a nine yard strike that culminated a 10 play drive that travelled 77 yards to open the tilt. That gave the East a 7-0 lead with 10:49 left in the opening period.

After forcing the West into a three-and-out, the East struck again.  This time, it was a 13 yard gallop right up the middle by RB Benny LeMay (Charlotte) extending the East lead to 14-zip with 5:06 still to play in the first quarter.  The drive to paydirt took 4:25 going 77 yards in just seven plays.

The West, now down two touchdowns, was in danger of being boatraced right out of Tropicana Field.  The blue jerseys desperately needed points on this possession and that’s what they did even if it meant taking a wild fourth down gamble.

Facing a long fourth-and-goal, the West threw caution to the wind and rolled the dice.  A seven yard strike from QB Tyler Huntley (Utah) to TE Parker Houston (San Diego State) cut the East’s lead in half to 14-7.  That culminated a seven-play drive that took 3:20 of clock time to go 75 yards.

The guys in the white jerseys answered immediately with a 66 yard drive of their own in seven plays to increase their lead to 17-7.  K Cooper Rothe (Wyoming) converted a 26-yard kick after the East took 4:50 to maneuver into field goal range.

The West responded on their next possession going 66 yards in seven plays that took 4:48   K Dominik Eberle (Utah State) split the uprights from 28-yards away.   That made the score 17-10 with 7:08 left in the first half and that was the arithmetic when both squads went to their locker room after 30 minutes of football.

The West knotted the score with 6:11 left in the third quarter.  WR Benjimin Victor (Ohio State) high-pointed a 36 yard bomb from QB Mason Fine (North Texas) to make the count 17-all.  The scoring drive took only four plays to go 46 yards in 2:27 of clock time and that what the scoreboard projected with fifteen minutes left in the contest.

The fireworks began early in the fourth quarter.  Eberle converted his second field goal of the afternoon to put the West up 20-17.  The boot culminated a 10 play drive that covered 58 yards and ate up 5:26.

After an exchange of punts, the East unveiled an unlikely candidate to provide a scoring spark.  On first down after a West punt, WR Malcolm Perry (Navy), who had quarterbacked the Midshipmen all season, lined up in the shotgun.  Ten seconds and 52 yards later, the East reclaimed the lead at 24-20 when #10 crossed the goal line with his only carry of the game.

The West was not to be denied as they put together a five play drive that took 2:43 to go 75 yards and that put the blue jerseys back in the lead 27-24.  The big play was the last one when RB James Robinson (Illinois State) scampered 63 yards to the promised land with the longest offensive play of the game.

After both defenses stiffened and forced punts, the East climbed back on top 31-27 with 1:52 left in the contest.  The white jerseys earned the lead by going 82 yards in eight plays that chewed up 2:33 off the clock when LeMay toted the leather nine yards to the end zone.

The West had one last shot to win but turned the ball over on downs.  The East ran out the last 54 seconds to secure the victory.

The MVP on offense was Lemay who had 86 yards on 15 carries along with two touchdowns.  The MVP on defense was Luther Kirk (Illinois State) who had a pass defensed as well as an interception.

The big winners are the kids that are helped by the Shriners.  To that, way to go Shriners and continued success.

Al pictures below provided by our own photo-journalist Tracer Crisp.  Enjoy.