South Defeats the North in 8th Annual East Coast Bowl
Since the East Coast Bowl began in 2001; the South team has won only one time. This year the defensive unit for the South team took that personally and pitched the only shutout in East Coast Bowl history, defeating the North 27-0.
The South defensive unit featured a tremendous push by their defensive front, a group of aggressive and tough linebackers, and a defensive backfield loaded with talent. The all-star event kicked off at Historic Cameron Field in Petersburg, VA just after noon with both offenses trading a couple possessions before either could manage a drive. The South team, behind quarterback Tribble Reese (Charleston Southern), drove the ball into North territory with the big play being 24-yard pass to Darryl Barnett (Fayetteville State), which set-up a 47-yard field goal attempt by kicker Brandon Gilbert (NC Central). Gilbert drilled the kick just as the first quarter was expiring to put the South on top 3-0. As the second quarter began the North was trying to mount of drive before a fantastic interception by Greg Toler (St. Paul’s), his second interception of the day. Working on a short field, new South quarterback, Curtis Rich (Elizabeth City State), wasted no time getting to work. Rich moved the ball across midfield with a great 20-yard run and used his legs once again to elude pressure and find Julius Pruitt (Ouachita Baptist), who made a great sideline catch to move the chains. The very next play Rich hooked up with Pruitt again, this time in the back right corner of the end zone to put the South up 10-0. With the second quarter winding down, the North drive stalled with quarterback David Wess (Seton Hill) getting sacked by Richard Washington (Clark Atlanta). Washington had a big day, as he was in on a couple sacks and several other key stops. With time running out in the first half it did not look like the South would get back in the end zone but a 27-yard draw play to Paul McKinnis (Murray State) was stopped just short of the goal line with 10 seconds left in the first half. On the next play, Rich took a quick snap, lofted the ball up to a leaping Darryl Barnett for a touchdown just before half. Brandon Gilbert was successful on the extra point and the South went into the locker room at halftime up 17-0.
The second half was more of a defensive showcase with athletes from both plays making great plays. The South defense appeared to be a step quicker than the North all afternoon and forced 7 turnovers. The quarterbacks for the North, John White (Bentley) and David Wess, both were able to sustain drives in the second half but they ended with either interceptions or fumbles. Most of the South defensive backs were in on the action with Toler, Javorris Jackson (Savannah State), Matthew Black, Rodrick Jones (Elizabeth City State) and James Romain (Delaware State) all picking off North passes. The South defense was led by Willie Williams (Union College), who finished the day with 12 tackles and 2 forced fumbles. Quarterback Curtis Rich and wide receiver Darryl Barnett led the South offense. The North defense was led by linebackers Shawn Melland (University of Mary) and Blake Freese (Minnesota State-Mankato), who finished with 6 tackles each. The bulk of the offensive highlights for the North team came from the circus catches made by Jon Davis (Azusa Pacific), including a 30-yard one-handed catch streaking down the sideline. Davis finished the game with 3 receptions for 66 yards.
The game featured 68 of the best Division I-FCS, II, III and NAIA players from 33 different states. All revenue generated from this event is used to award a high school student who will attend a Division I-FCS, II, III or NAIA college with financial assistance. The archived audio broadcast can be heard anytime for free at www.terrysisisky.com .
For more information on the East Coast Bowl please visit our website at http://eastcoastbowl.petersburgsports.com or call the office at (804)722-0141