BUTTE ó The West team scored 31 unanswered points, capped by a touchdown catch from Glacierís Devin Jeffries, to complete a furious comeback and beat the East 31-28 at the 67th annual Montana East-West Shrine high school football all-star game on Saturday at Naranche Stadium.
Trailing 28-0 after the first quarter, the West team buckled down and found itself down just five points late in the third quarter. Jeffries, who had two tackles and a sack earlier in the game, substituted in at tight end with the West threatening to score at the East 4-yard line. On second down and goal, Manhattan quarterback Quinn McQueary evaded the oncoming rush and found Jeffries open in the back of the end zone to give the West squad a 31-28 lead.
It is all the team would need, as the defense locked down the final quarter for a West victory.
The game started off decidedly different, as the East team powered by a dominant offensive line, ran the ball at will in the first quarter. The East ran seven times in eight snaps on its opening drive, going 56 yards for a touchdown by Billings Seniorís Nolan Saraceni.
The East scored on its next three possessions, capped by a 49-yard touchdown pass from Red Lodge quarterback Sean Sullivan to Great Falls CMRís Josh Horner, to take a 28-0 lead less than a minute into the second quarter.
Slowly, the West pulled itself back into the game.
On the next drive, Helena quarterback Dawson Reardon got the ball moving, running from the shotgun to pick up a pair of first downs. A few handoffs later, Reardon found Glacierís Kyle Griffith open down the left side of the field for a 51-yard gain to the East 3-yard line. A dive from Capitalís Gunnar Brekke two plays later put the West on the board and back in the game, down 28-7.
By halftime, the West cut the lead to 28-23, setting up the strong second half.
McQueary was named the most outstanding player in the game. Jeffries was named the defensive MVP and Brekke offensive MVP for the West.
Griffith finished with six catches for 129 yards to lead the West in recieving.
Polsonís Eric Williamson had two tackles, a sack and a forced fumble and Glacierís Rial Gunlikson had a tackle, in addition to punting duties for the West. Polsonís Riley Sampson recovered a fumble while starting on the offensive line.