While it was Alemany kicker Kyle Strazzeri’s 34-yard go-ahead field goal with 4:43 remaining in the fourth quarter that accounted for the final difference on the scoreboard, the game was won by a splendid defensive effort from the East.
“I definitely had fun,” said the East’s Kyle Morgan, a defensive back out of St. Francis, who played nearly the entire game at free safety. “There was players on the other side that thought they were about to come out here and do it, just stick it to us, but we showed up to play and ended up pulling it out.”
The West’s stable of high-profile stars, led by City Section-champion Birmingham running back Milton Knox, had good opportunities to score in the second half, but the East came up with two huge defensive stops in the fourth quarter.
With 4:29 remaining in the game, the West trailed by two points and was within field goal range on fourth and one at the East 19 yard line.
Electing to go for the first down instead, the West attempted a quarterback sneak, but the ball came loose and was recovered by the East’s Armando Orozco, out of Grant.
It was the last shot the West would have inside East territory.
With a little help from Budrick, Orozco came up with a huge interception earlier in the fourth quarter that would set up the game winning field goal.
On a West first and 10 at its own 30 with 6:36 to play, Budrick deflected a pass attempt by Westlake quarterback Nick Owens into the air, where Orozco gathered it up for a first down on the West 35 yard line.
“The defense definitely played good,” said Budrick, who batted down another pass in the first quarter. “Give credit to all of us.”
Even when the East committed its own gaffe on offense, heads-up defense saved the day.