By Thomas Sellers Jr.
MEMPHIS — Over the 15 years of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game, several Division I players have been produced. Many of the participants have gone on to play college football on different level.
And even players like Dontari Poe (Wooddale) and Alan Cross (Millington) are currently in the NFL. Poe starred on the Red Team and Cross saw action for the Blue All-Stars. Through it all when the 2016 participants took to the field at MUS, the overall series was tied at seven games a piece.
The goal for Red Team Head Coach Joe Rocconi (White Station) was to break the tie. And Anthony Jones (Cordova) wanted to lead the Blue Team to victory to break the deadlock.
Led by the defense all Saturday evening, the Blue All-Stars prevailed 10-3 to give the Blue Team the overall series lead 8-7.
“Our goal was not to let them score any points,” Blue All-Star Trey Goins said. “We didn’t want them to get any yards, points or anything the whole game.
“It was the coaches but mostly the players that set that goal,” the Germantown standout continued. “They really didn’t have to tell us anything. Some of us didn’t get a Gold Ball. That trophy over there is our Gold Ball.”
Goins and the Blue Stars’ path to the large gold trophy started with the defense line attacking the Red Team’s backfield. Players like Tijuan Mason (Teadwell), Trevion Ross (Cordova) and Tyler Garvey (Collierville) applied pressure on Red Stars like quarterbacks Mario Nolan-Dillard (Lausanne) and Kameron Williams (Southwind.
Garvey’s performance led MVP honors for the game. But the play that sparked the Blue Stars came courtesy of Goins.
During the scoreless first quarter, Red Team running back Demarion Yancey (Booker T. Washington) snatched a screen pass out of the air. Before he could land to the ground, Goins gathered Yancey into a bear hug guiding him to the turf to force an incomplete pass.
“That play made the tempo for our defense that we needed to start hitting hard,” Goins said. “We couldn’t let any one slide part us.”
The Red Team defense matched the Blue Team play for play throughout the first half. Both teams traded field goals. A big run by Blue Star Harold Lacy (Cordova) set up a 23-yard field goal by Dylan Scott of Collierville.
The Blue Team led 3-0 at halftime. The Red Stars tied the game in the third quarter with a 27-yard field goal from Pershawn Banks (Sheffield).
Later the 3-3 tie was broken under crazy sequence of events. After a couple of turnovers inside the 5-yard line, Garvey made the fumble recovery leading to Lacy’s 2-yard TD.
The Blue Team was ahead 10-3 with 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The fourth quarter went scoreless with an interception by Isaiah Norman (Cordova) in the final minutes.
Goins said to end his high school playing career with a victory means a lot.
“It feels good,” he concluded. “It feels like my Gold Ball. I wasn’t really ever able to make a run in the playoffs. So this feels like State playing in this atmosphere here.”
1-Timothy Taylor; RB, East; 2-Kelvin Parker, LB, Fairley; 3-Myles Baker, CB, White Station; 4-Shabar Wilson, DL, Whitehaven; 5-Kreshun Jones, LB, Wooddale; 6-Kendric Jones, CB, Melrose; 7-Mario Nolan-Dillard, QB, Lausanne; 8-Are’Kevious Sears, WR, Melrose; 9-Jerry Craine, QB, Wooddale; 10-Myrone Kimber, WR, Wooddale; 11-Kylan Watkins, RB, Whitehaven; 12-Rashad Haynes, ATH, Central; 13-Kelton Neyland, WR, Westwood; 14-Starsky Miller, LB, Melrose
15-Roland Williams, CB, White Station; 17-Clevon Doby, FS, Mitchell; 18-Pershawn Banks, QB, Sheffield; 19-Kameron Williams, QB, Southwind; 20-Oganna Oraedu, DE, MUS; 21-Demarion Yancey, RB, BTW; 22-Aubrey Miller, LB, Whitehaven; 23-DeQuan Dallas, ATH, Melrose; 24-Trevor Forbes, S, White Station; 25-Kyree Roberson, LB, Oakhaven; 28-Bradley Foley, DB/LB, MUS; 34-Tre Curtis, RB, FACS; 38-Garrett Baugh, ATH, Munford; 39-Evan Smith, LB, MUS*
42-Hosea Franklin, RB, Kirby; 44-Garrison Boling, DE, Northpoint; 45-Carson Blackfan, RB, Houston; 50-Tyler Walton, OL, Whitehaven; 51-Derrick Gainey, OL, MAHS, 52-Mason Harwell, DL, Harding; 54-Michael Neely, LB, St. Benedict; 58-Darrick Jackson, OL, Whitehaven; 64-Anthony Geter, OL/DL, Whitehaven; 65-Dewayne McIntyre, DL, Kirby; 72-Jarius Douglas, OL, Lausanne; 75-Jalen Jones, OL, White Station; 79-Kourtney Partee, OL, Hillcrest; 85-Rodarious Sanders, WR, Hamilton; 99-Bryan Taylor, DL, Southwind
*injured, won’t play
Staff: Head coach, Joe Rocconi (White Station); assistants, Chester Ford, Melrose; Jerome Griffin, Wooddale; Dwayne Harris, Westwood; Will Hudgens, Houston; Kevin Patterson, Fairley; Greg Wallace, Northpoint
1-Tyrique Sandusky, QB, Ridgeway; 2-Chase Hayden, RB, St. George’s; 3-Tavarious Foster, RB, Arlington; 4-Devin Coleman, QB, Cordova; 5-Cordarrian Richardson, RB, Trezevant; 6-Noah Johnson, WR, Arlington; 7-Dewayne Betts, QB, KIPP; 8-Noah Pope, DE, St. George’s; 9-Marquavious Weaver, RB, Bartlett; 10-Ben Glass, QB, St. George’s; 11-Corey Jones, WR, St. George’s; 12-Ardous Holloway, LB, Fayette Academy; 13-Andre Golden, WR, Brighton; 14-Blake Armour, LB, Brighton
15-Keegan Voss, ATH, CBHS; 16-Dylan Scott, K/P, Collierville; 17-Joseph Newberry, CB, Ridgeway; 18-D’Monte Kemp, CB, Millington; 19-Jake Powers, S, Briarcrest; 20-Brandon Parker, LB, Arlington; 22-Vincent Taylor, WR, Ridgeway; 23-Orreon Finley, WR, KIPP; 26-Will Barto, LB, Briarcrest; 27-Jordan Wiseman, DE, Manassas; 34-Tyler Garvey, LB, Collierville; 34-Sondre Brown, LB, Craigmont; 40-Tijuan Mason, DE, Trezevant; 44-Tavaris Moore, ATH, Rossville
51-Trevion Ross, DL, Cordova; 55-Trey Goins, DL, Germantown; 59-Preston Brady, OL, ECS; 61-Ahmad Malone, OL/DL, Collierville; 64-Brayden Helton, OL, Brighton; 68-Julian Atkins, OL, Overton; 72-Darron Moss, DL, Douglass; 76-Jordan Jackson, OL, Arlington; 77-Griffin Hawkins, OL, Briarcrest; 80-Cervantes Reed, DE, Ridgeway; 85-Maher Angalo, WR, Douglass
Staff: Head coach, Anthony Jones, Cordova; assistants, David Carter, St. George’s; Carl Coleman, Manassas; Preston Harris, Douglass; Robin Jacobs, Brighton; Adam Sykes, Arlington