Sunday, June 24, 2018
CONWAY -- The entire Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star football game was played with neither play clock working, so the 25-second count was kept by officials on the field.
That was never a problem for a West offense as it wasn't called for a single delay of game penalty. The East, meanwhile, was called for delay of game once, but it was on a fourth-down play as time was winding down in the first quarter.
"[West head] Coach [J.R.] Eldridge was telling the time the entire game," said West assistant Casey Moreland of Arkadelphia, who served as offensive coordinator. "We had good communication, so it really didn't mess with me that much.
"Every once in a while during a regular game, I'll pay attention to the play clock. But we're a fast-tempo offense. That's what we do in Arkadelphia, and that's what we done here. Those kids from the West, they showed up. They worked in practice and were engaged."
The West offense finished with 529 yards total offense and completely dominated the East, which was limited to 159 yards.
It's not every day that a linebacker has a ball fly directly into his hands, and Isiah Singleton of Pine Bluff didn't waste the gift he was given.
Singleton was credited with a 56-yard fumble return on a ball that never hit the ground during the third quarter and helped pull the East within 31-21. It was the first score of his high school career and earned him the outstanding defensive lineman award
West quarterback Demias Jimmerson of Malvern had attempted to scramble on the play and lost the ball, which went directly into Singleton's hands. He then raced to the end zone untouched, finishing off the long run with a flip into the end zone.
"If it wasn't for my D-line and DBs rushing to the ball, I wouldn't have scored," said Singleton, who will go on to play at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. "It was just a little zone play and the quarterback kept it. I think my defensive lineman got his hands around him and squeezed it out.
"I took it from there, and the flip felt pretty good. I had to end it someway."
It was one of two defensive touchdowns for the East. Deonta Haynes of McGehee, who was named the game's outstanding defensive back, had the other score when he picked off a Jimmerson pass in the end zone and raced the full 100 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Her number was?
Ebonee Whitley of Riverview was in for a surprise when she put on her East All-Star jersey for Saturday's girls basketball game.
Whitley was listed as No. 23 on the East roster, and that was the number on the front of her jersey. However, she had No. 32 on the back of her jersey, and she didn't realize it until a member of the media pointed it out to her.
"I didn't even notice it while we were getting dressed," Whitley said. "I thought I saw at 32 at first, but I thought was just seeing things. Then when it was mentioned, I was like 'What?" Nobody even noticed, then it was like 'you have two numbers,' and I was like 'I see it now.'"
Joey Walters of the Arkansas Activities Association said Russell -- the company who made the jerseys for the All-Star games -- made one last set of uniforms before it quit making athletic wear in November. Walter said the AAA is in the search for a replacement company for future games.
Conway's Cardrina Nolen, meanwhile, had No. 32 on the front and back of her East jersey, which would have made things interesting if both players were on the floor at the same time. It actually happened with just under three minutes remaining but only lasted about a minute as Whitley left the game.
Who to cheer for
Omaha boys basketball Coach Rocky Dodson was one of the few people in attendance at the Farris Center who had an interest in both sides -- and for good reason.
Dodson's daughter Marleigh, who played at Norfork, was a member of the East girls roster. One of Dodson's Omaha players, Garrett Matlock, was a member of the West boys team.
"I'll be honest -- it's a little confusing," Dodson said at halftime. "I have to remind myself which color, which bench and which team to pull for.
"It's interesting to have a daughter on an All-Star team and a player as well. It's a real special day."
Marleigh Dodson, who will play next season at Lyon College in Batesville, played 16 minutes and had 5 points and 3 rebounds in the East girls' 86-79 loss. Matlock, who will continue his career at North Arkansas College in Harrison, hit a late free throw in West's 124-87 loss but had 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 13 minutes.
Paul Boyd and Graham Thomas of the NWA Democrat-Gazette contributed to this report.
Sports on 06/24/2018
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