By Chan Davis
OF THE COMMERCIAL STAFF
FAYETTEVILLE — Watson Chapel wide receiver Willie Sargent marched onto Frank Broyles Field as a team captain for the East squad in the 57th Annual Arkansas High School All-Star Football Game.
He marched into the end zone minutes later, scoring on a 76-yard touchdown pass from Heber Springs’ Michael Ludwig, one of three catches for 82 yards in the first quarter for Sargent.
The West beat the East 42-38 to close the gap in wins. The East now leads the series 31-25 with one tie.
Sargent added a 44-yard kick return in the third period as the West trailed the East 24-21, setting up the East in good field position. But the drive stalled and the West took over on downs. Sargent finished the game four catches for 84 yards and returned two kicks for 74 yards for a total of 158 yards in the losing effort.
“I didn’t think I would get that much play at that many different positions,” Sargent said. “I want to thank coach (Randy) Coleman for giving me the opportunity. Wherever he put me at I just tried to execute.”
While Sargent was burning up the turf on pass receptions and kick returns, White Hall’s Tim Cook was dominating at tailback for the West, rushing for 30 yards on five carries in the first quarter and 13 more yards on five carries in the third period, his only hiccup a stop for no gain on 4th-and-3 midway through the quarter.
The West fumbled away the opportunity and East coach Randy Coleman, of Jonesboro, wasted no time getting Sargent right back in the game on an end-around on the first play after the turnover. But the East stalled again as the West clinged to the 3-point advantage.
Coleman continued to utilize Cook in the final period as the White Hall standout finished with a team-leading 81 yards and 15 carries. He was stopped a yard shy of the goal line in the fourth.
Cook vowed to be back in that position in the future as he plans to play at Razorback Stadium again, next time as a Razorback.
“I plan on playing here again…one day,” Cook said. “I am going to score a touchdown on this field. I came here on a mission to represent my town, White Hall, and show that I am a good running back.”
Pine Bluff’s Bryan Terry and David Adams put together quality outings as well. Terry finished with three tackles while Adams dominated his side of the offensive line.
Adams has signed on to play at Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the fall. Terry is still waiting to get that call from a college coach.
“I came in here and showed that I could hang with the best of them, Terry said. “I think I proved that I belong at the next level and might get a few calls after this.”
Adams said the West squad did what it took to claim the victory.
“At first we were just throwing the ball and were down at the half,” he said. “When we went in we said we were going to play harder. We came out and won the game and still had fun at the same time.”
Stuttgart’s Keith Humbert saw limited activity and finished with 10 rushing yards on four carries.
McGehee’s Deondrai Haynes was credited with two quarterback hurries.
Bentonville quarterback Dallas Hardison finished with 392 passing yards on 20-of-32 completions, surpassing the old record of 235 yards by Russellville’s Landon Leach in 2003. Ludwig was selected Offensive Most Valuable Player.