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FOOTBALL: East overwhelms West in what could be final MHSFCA All-Star Game

By: Scott Burnstein, June 24, 2013, 10:00 am

ALLENDALE – The East was a beast Saturday in the 33rd annual Michigan High School Football Coaches Association All-Star Game.

Bouncing back with vigor and ferocity, the East team avenged a 59-7 pasting in last year’s game by snaring a decisive 20-3 victory over the West team in a spirited affair played on the campus of Grand Valley State University in the friendly confines of Lubbers Stadium.

Rumors are swirling that 2013 will be the final year of the East-West All-Star Game and that the MHSFCA will soon sign a deal to have an inter-state showdown of all-state squads with Ohio beginning next season.

With Walled Lake Western head coach Mike Zdebski wearing the headset at the helm of the East team, the memory of last year’s walloping was erased quickly Saturday afternoon. On the first drive of the game, the East grabbed a 7-0 lead when quarterback Cameron Thomas (South Lyon East) connected with wide receiver Leonte DeGraffenreid (Dearborn Edsel Ford) for a 32-yard touchdown up the right sideline on a third-and-three play.

The Westsiders responded with an impressive opening drive of its own and put three points on the board via a 23-yard field goal by placekicker Dong Kim (Okemos).

The score would remain 7-3 until the third quarter when the Eastsiders scored on a 12-yard jaunt into the end zone from tailback Keymonne Gabriel (Detroit Loyola).

Gabriel’s 22-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach and sent the East team’s sideline dancing and high-fiving.

Defensively, Zdebski’s East contingent was as stout as possible when it counted the most, putting together a pair of goal-line stands – one in the second quarter, one in the fourth – and getting a big interception by linebacker Lucas Lanzon (Macomb L’anse Creuse) to halt a last-gasp West drive in the red zone, eventually resulting in Gabriel’s game-securing score just minutes later.

Fellow linebacker Anthony Darkangelo (Novi Detroit Catholic Central) and defensive back Tyree Waller (Ypsilanti Lincoln) recorded a team-high six tackles apiece in the East victory.

All the aforementioned players for the East squad will be playing in college next year, except Gabriel (game-high 78 yards on 12 carries to go along with his two touchdown runs), who will be at a prep school in Virginia.

From the Division I level, Thomas (pictured above) will be under center at Western Michigan, while Waller will be joining the secondary at Central Michigan.

DeGraffenreid is headed to Saginaw Valley State, Darkangelo to Ferris State and Lanzon to the University of Valparaiso in Indiana.