Maryland-bound Hills’ 4 TDs key West rout of East, 45-24
MONROEVILLE, Pa. – During his high school career, it wasn’t uncommon for Pittsburgh Central Catholic quarterback Perry Hills to only attempt nine passes in a game.
But what Hills did with his nine pass attempts Sunday afternoon in his final scholastic football game of his career was something he admitted he’d never, ever done before during his two and one-half seasons as the Vikings’ field general.
Hills, a Maryland recruit, threw for 273 yards and four touchdowns, including two scoring strikes of 80 yards or more to Dontez Ford (Sto-Rox) as the West rolled up 364 yards passing in a 45-24 victory over the East in the PSFCA East-West All-Star Game played at Gateway High School in Monroeville.
The East-West game, previously played at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona, was not played last season, but will now follow an alternating site pattern with its resumption. Gateway High School will serve as the host site for the even-numbered seasons and Downingtown East High School in Exton will serve as the East’s site in odd-numbered seasons.
The 45 points scored by the West marked a new game record for points scored by one team in the game. The 69 combined points also established a new game record, besting the 2009 edition, which featured 59 combined points in a 37-22 East victory.
And while there aren’t records for passing efficiency kept, it’s pretty safe to assume Hills would take the cake in that department.
“At Central Catholic, we always had a great running back I could hand the ball off to in Damion Jones-Moore,” Hills, the West MVP, said postgame. “It was great to come out and throw that much and for that many yards. It was my personal goal to win this game.”
If any Maryland Terrapin fans were watching, Hills certainly gave them plenty of reason to be excited, especially with his fourth and final touchdown pass – an 88-yard connection to Ford in the fourth quarter to cap the game scoring. Hills, lined up in the shotgun formation, saw the snap roll between his legs and into the end zone. He regained possession, rolled right, then floated a spiral to a wide-open Ford, who did the rest.
“It was supposed to be a running play,” Ford explained. “And I looked back and the defensive back was nowhere in sight and I was like, ‘How did he know it was a run so quickly?’ Then I saw Perry in the end zone. I just stayed with the play, caught the ball and took off.”
Take off the Syracuse-bound Ford did, high-stepping into the end zone to cap a five-catch, 193-yard, three-touchdown game.
“It feels good,” Ford said. “It feels good to come back and play good ball in my final game. My senior season ended with a 42-6 loss to Clairton (in the WPIAL championship game). It was great to end things on a high note.”
Early on, however, it was the East pushing all the right buttons. Just 61 seconds into the contest, the green-and-white clad visitors led 7-0 thanks to a Daniel Brown (C.B. South) nine-yard scoring run. That margin was pushed to 10-0 thanks to a Brad Lukasak (Blue Mountain) 48-yard field goal.
The West, meanwhile, was sputtering. Starting field general Steve Franco threw a pair of interceptions within the West’s first four plays from scrimmage and lost a fumble on the team’s sixth play from scrimmage.
“After the first three possessions (of the game), I went over to Steve on the sidelines and we talked about bouncing back,” said West head coach Homer DeLattre (Corry Area). “I told him, ‘I have full confidence in you to go out and get the job done.'”
Franco did rebound, connecting with Darren Massey (Montour) on a 74-yard pass-and-catch before hooking up with Ford for a seven-yard scoring pass to bring the West within 10-7 through one quarter.
Then, it was Hills’ show. He hit his first four passes of the day for 122 yards, including scoring passes of 32 yards to Jamar Clark (McKeesport) and 80 yards to Ford to move the West ahead, 21-10.
Then, right before halftime, Hills stuck a dagger in the East’s side after the guests had pulled to within 21-17 on a 61-yard pass from Matt Johns (C.B. South) to Adam Bridgeforth (Nazareth). On that seven-play, 67-yard drive, Hills hit passes of 10 yards to Ford and 40 yards to Clark before finding Massey from 13 yards out with 16 seconds left in the half.
After Brown brought the East to within four, 28-24, on an eight-yard run in the third quarter, the West scored the game’s final 17 points to pull away. De’Andre Moon (Rochester) scored on a 19-yard run; Ryan Gralish (Mars) booted a 30-yard field goal and Hills found Ford on the aforementioned 88-yard broken play.
“They had some very talented athletes that had the ability to make plays,” said East head coach Joe Repshis (Abington Heights). “I thought our defensive backs played well today, but it’s just a testament to the quarterback and his ability to hit those passes.”
The West finished with 532 yards of total offense – 364 through the air and another 168 on the ground. Moon led all backs with a game-high 119 yards rushing, while Hills added four totes for 24 yards and Franco four carries for 17 yards. Clark caught two passes for 72 yards and Massey two for 87.
Johns, the East MVP, finished 8-of-14 for 194 yards and one touchdown and added five rushes for 20 yards. Brown paced the East ground game with nine rushes for 33 yards and the pair of touchdowns. Bobby Martarella (Neshaminy) was the top receiver, hauling in four passes for 76 yards while Mark Doe (Academy Park) added two receptions for 85 yards.
Both Repshis and DeLattre noted the efforts of their teams coming together despite only a few weekend practices leading up to Sunday’s game.
“The experience leading up to this game was phenomenal – we had zero problems,” Repshis said. “I can’t say enough about the work ethics of the players and I am very proud of their effort.”
“This game shows you that guys of great character who are good football players can come together and connect as a team,” DeLattre said. “The comraderie was amazing, and these guys just connected.”
NOTES: The East leads the all-time series, 7-4. Sunday marked the first time the West all-stars had scored more than 24 points in the game and marked the West’s first victory in the series since 2008. Lukasak, who will walk on at Pitt, had a 37-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter blocked by Mike Shansky (Blackhawk), which was recovered and returned 26 yards by Brian Jones (Gateway). Philipsburg-Osceola’s Kyle Lanich, listed at 6’4, 315 pounds, played the entire game at center for the West. Both teams were flagged six times each for a combined 115 yards. Harding, who threw for 3,739 yards at Nazareth in his senior season, finished with 31 passing yards in 16 attempts. The game featured 10 plays from scrimmage of 32 yards or longer, not including special teams.
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