On June 30th at Rolling Hills Prep High School in San Pedro the CIF SS 8 Man Football Coaches Association hosted their annual All Star Game. The teams were divided by location, the East and the West teams. This game was dedicated to the “dying breed of 8 man football.” Longtime 8 man historian Ray Clifton said that there were 126 8 man teams in 1984, and that was down to 57 in 2012.
The following is a drive by drive recap done by one of the East coaches, Chris Fore.
East received the kickoff and punted after going three and out on their first drive.
8:25 – After a short punt, the West took over on the East’s 34 yard line. West quarterback Charlie Heller (Milikan HS) hit Shands McCoy (Westmark HS) for a 12 yard TD. East blocked the kick. 6-0 West
3:54 – East’s Mike Neal (Desert Christian HS) ran for a 22 yard touchdown on a reverse. The 2 pt run conversion failed, and it was tied up at 6.
On the ensuing kickoff, the West returned it to the East 13 yard line. 2 plays later Mark Wright (Rolling Hills Prep HS) hit Seth Brown (Lancaster Baptist) for a 12 yard touchdown. The conversion failed. West went up 12-6 with 2:46 left in the first.
East started on their own 15 yard line and went three and out again.
After another short punt, the West took over on the East 33 yard line. With a pass interference call on 3rd and 18, the West got a fresh set of downs on the 19 yard line. With 4th and goal at the 1, Michael Palsbrook (Lone Pine HS) for the East team came up with the hit of the game, a touchdown saving tackle on West qb Mark Wright.
10:31 in the second – the East team started from their own 1 yard line and drove 79 yards to tie the score at 12. It was on a 46 yard pass from RayQuan Williams (Bloomington Christian HS) to Mike Neal (Desert Christian HS) for Mike’s second touchdown of the game. The run conversion failed and it was 12-12 with 8:10 to play in the half.
West started on their own 15 and with a 2nd and 12 personal foul penalty on the East, the West got another first down and took the ball in to East territory. On 4th and 7 from the East 27, the West team failed to convert a fake field goal attempt by coming up a few yards short on a pass.
The East started at their own 23 with 6:23 in the 2nd quarter. After a nice 35 yard romp by Joe Harrison (Excelsior HS) took the ball down to threaten a touchdown and did in fact score from 9 yards out a few plays later to give the East an 18-12 lead. The pass conversion failed.
The West All Stars took over on their own 15 and soon completed a 60 yard bomb to take them to the 14 of the East; it was another Heller pass to Aaron Roseboro (Price HS). They scored a few plays later on a 1 yard dive by quarterback Mark Wright (Rolling Hills Prep HS). Heller hit Seth Brown (Lancaster Baptist HS) for the two point conversion making it 20-18 with :41 left in the half.
What a great back and forth game it was shaping up to be.
The East started on their own 15 with :40 left to play in the half. They drove the ball down the field and with no time left on the clock quarterback RayQuan Williams (Bloomington Christian HS) scrambled for a thrilling touchdown. He then hit Mike Neal (Desert Christian HS) for the 2 pt conversion, and the East took the lead 26-20.
At halftime, the 8 Man Coaches Association President, and Head Coach for the East All Stars honored Rolling Hills Prep senior lineman Steven Contreras with the “Randall Johnson Award.” This award was voted on by the coaches association. Coach Johnson was a long time coach at Rio Hondo Prep; he passed away from alzheimer’s disease.
Contreras plays with a prosthetic on the lower half of his left leg due to cancer. It truly is an inspiration watching this young man play football.
The West went three and out on their first possession.
The East started on their own 35 and pounded out running play after running play on their way to another Joe Harrison (Exclesior HS) touchdown from 9 yards out. He scored with 5:40 on the clock to put the East ahead 32-20 after the two point conversion failed.
The West team drove the ball down the field through the air yet failed to convert a key 4th and 3 from the East’s 6 yard line thus turning the ball over again.
The East put together another long drive and scored on another RayQuan Williams’ pass (Bloomington Christian HS) to Mike Neal (Desert Christian), this time for 74 yards. At 1:50 left in the third, Williams kept the pigskin for two points to put the East squad up 40-20.
Just when the West was driving through the air, East’s Michael Palsbrook (Lone Pine HS) intercepted a quick pass to the flats and returned it 60 yards to paydirt. The run conversion failed but the East now had a commanding 46-20 lead with 10:40 left in the 4th quarter.
The West team again turned the ball over, and the East scored quickly, with 10:03 on the clock remaining in the game. This time it was a RayQuan Williams’ pass (Bloomington Christian HS) to Casey Sulivan (Lone Pine HS) for a 17 yard touchdown. Cory Hivner (Marywood Palm Valley HS) scored the two point conversion on a run, putting the East up 54-20.
The West drove the ball the length of the field yet failed to score from the East 6, turning it over again. But the East’s offense sputtered with a penalty and some runs which were stopped, and their punter stepped out of the back of the endzone on a fourth down punt attempt to give the West two points, making it 54-22 with 2:38 left to play.
West All Stars drove the ball 55 yards for a touchdown when Mark Wright (Rolling Hills Prep HS) ran the ball from 4 yards out making it 54-28 after a failed PAT.
Not too long after that, the West team scored again on a 21 yard pass from Wright to Seth Brown (Lancaster Baptist HS) with 2.7 seconds left in the game. This made the final score 54-34.
Thank you to all of the players, coaches, and fans for making this another great 8 Man All Star Game.