A turnover laden game was nonetheless full of hard hits and big plays at the Columbus Civic Center on Saturday.
Athletes from Columbus and the surrounding areas suited up for the High School Indoor Classic, sponsored by the Columbus Lions, with Team Blue made up of players from outside Muscogee County coming out on top 52-27.
The Red Team, comprised of players from Muscogee County, scored two touchdowns in the second quarter to take a brief one-point lead in the game, but a trick play, featuring Central Highs Khaled Berklin, and a handful of turnovers turned the game on its head.
On a play Berklin said his team came up with just before the game, Blue quarterback Wynton Heard (LaGrange) took the snap at the Red 12-yard line and passed across the field but behind the line of scrimmage to Berklin. Berklin caught the ball, looked up field and found Kelsey Finley (LaFayette) in the opposite corner of the end zone for the score.
The 12-yard pass, Berklins only throw of the game, put the Blue ahead 19-14, a lead it wouldnt relinquish.
We knew we were going to run that play, Berklin said after the game. When I let it go, I thought he overthrew him, but he came up with it, so it worked out.
The Red Muscogee players then turned the ball over on their final two possessions of the half. One was recovered in the end zone and the other led to a short 8-yard touchdown pass from Heard to high school teammate Hayden Olive (LaGrange).
By halftime, the Blue lead was 32-14. Despite an interception on its first play of the second half, the Blue team recorded a safety and two more touchdowns before Red reached the end zone again.
Centrals Jeron Jones caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Heard to make it 40-14 and Beulahs Trevon Brown hauled in an 18-yarder to make it 46-14.
It was fun getting to know all these guys I didnt know, Berklin said. You practice with them and youre able to develop some chemistry before the game.
One bright spot for the Red team was Columbus James Traylor, who hauled in two touchdown passes. He scored on a 25-yard pass from Jordans Will Harris to cut it to 46-20 after bringing in a 13-yarder in the first half to give his team a brief lead at 14-13.
It was great to come out and play with guys Ive competed against, Traylor said of the game. Its fun to see how we can play together.
Harris tossed two other touchdown passes, his first a 29-yarder to Carvers Dequindre Coleman to make it 13-7 and his last an 11-yarder to Jordan teammate Damon Lewis, a one-handed grab, to make it 52-27.
Overall, Harris was 11 of 24 for 124 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Berklin, in addition to his touchdown pass, also hauled in four passes for 36 yards and a touchdown and was named the offensive player of the game.
Northsides Victor Ballesteros, playing for the Red team, was named defensive player of the game.
Quarterback Heard, who completed 14 of 28 passes for 136 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions plus a rushing touchdown, was named the games most valuable player.
Saturday at the Civic Center
Blue 13 19 2 1852
Red 0 14 0 1327
BKhaled Berklin 26 pass from Wynton Heard (Caleb Boone kick); 9:25
BHeard 2 run (kick failed); 6:32
RDequindre Coleman 29 pass from Will Harris (Christian Lucas kick); 11:59
RJames Traylor 13 pass from Harris (Lucas kick); 7:18
BKelsey Finley 12 pass from Berklin (kick failed); 2:11
BDazmon Dunlap fumble recovery (kick failed); :46
BHayden Olive 8 pass from Heard (Boone kick); :23
BJeron Jones 7 pass from Heard (kick failed); 14:28
BTrevon Brown 18 pass from Heard (kick failed); 7:52
RTraylor 25 pass from Harris (2-point failed); 5:25
BCaleb Boone 20 pass from Heard (kick failed); 2:40
RDamon Lewis 11 pass from Harris (Lucas kick); :32