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The East overcomes a bad start to beat West, 15-14, in the PSFCA Big School All-Star game

Written by: on Friday, May 24th, 2024. Follow Joseph Santoliquito on Twitter.


Photos courtesy of Matt Topper

MECHANICSBURG, PA — Mikal Davis thought about it for a moment. The Imhotep Charter quarterback just went a whole weekend of winning football, after just finishing playing on a field where his most memorable football moment occurred six months ago when he led the Panthers to the PIAA Class 5A state championship.

But his overriding priority was—sleep, after studying for finals.

In two days, Davis led the Public League All-Stars to a 14-6 victory over the Non-Pub All-Stars on Saturday.

Then on Sunday, he delivered the winning fourth-quarter touchdown pass and two-point conversion in the East’s 15-14 victory over the West in the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) East-West Big School All-Star game at Cumberland Valley’s Chapman Field.

“I’m going to save my emotions for later, but as of right now, it feels amazing being here winning here on this field, winning yesterday and winning today,” said Davis, who completed 4 of 11 for 64 yards, but delivered a crucial 34-yard touchdown pass to Downingtown West’s Dean Hangey, and followed with a two-point conversion pass to his Imhotep teammate, Johann Hennigan, for a 15-14 East lead.

Hangey was awarded the East MVP award for catching a game-high five passes for 116 yards and both East touchdowns, while North Allegheny’s Logan Kushner was the West MVP after throwing for one score and running for another.

“I’m a soldier, I have to play and I will sleep, believe me, but I do have finals tomorrow, so I will need to stay up for that,” Davis said. “I think my lasting memory from my high school experience is winning the state championship, and I finishing my high school career winning this game, on this field where we won the state title. This game looked ugly but look at that scoreboard. That is all that matters. We won—and that looks good.”

As did Hangey.

“We really prepared for this, with two seven-hour practices, we went hard the whole time,” said Hangey, who will attend Sacred Heart for football. “We got ourselves together in the second half. All these guys worked hard. This is my first to last high school game, and with the different coaches and different terminology, it will prepare me for what is to come in college.”

With 2:29 left to play, Penn Manor’s Dhamir Wesley, who was exceptional, recovered a fumble at the West 40 that sealed the victory for the East. From there, East ran the clock out to preserve the victory.

After East tied it at 7-7, Kushner tore off a 34-yard scoring run up the middle for a 14-7 West lead with 11:12 to play. The lead, however, did not seem to last very long.

On the ensuing kickoff, Cheltenham’s Trey McLeod rolled 94 yards for what looked like a touchdown, until, a flag downfield negated it.

The East, though, did benefit from the possession. East took the lead for the first time when Davis connected with Hangey, and then Hennigan for the conversion and a 15-14 East lead with 7:27 to play.

On the East’s first possession of the second half, it moved the ball more on its first three plays than it produced the entire first half. East achieved three first downs, tripling its first-half total, helped by an interference call.

The drive resulted in East’s first score when Downingtown West’s Quinn Henicle hit Hangey with a 52-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-7 with 3:50 left in the third quarter.

The West struck first when Kushner hit New Oxford’s Brennan Holmes with a 28-yard touchdown pass with 11:28 left in the first half. With the East offense struggling, West looked like it was going to take a commanding 14-0 lead with the ball sitting at the East 10 in the last two minutes of the half.

But a series of mishaps stopped that from happening.

First, West tried a trick play that failed miserably, losing three yards. Gateway’s Jaquon Reynolds took a handoff nine yards to the four, but two sterling plays by the East defense stopped the West from going further. On third-and-goal, Wesley came from the backside to pull down Reynolds for no gain. Then, on fourth-and-goal, Downingtown West’s Jake Kucera took down Carlisle’s Carson Swartz at the East 3 to end the threat.

East was fortunate to get out of the half only one score down.

Neither offense was productive. But after the first 24 minutes, East had just one first down and 26 yards of total offense. The East ran off 13 plays, averaging a mere two yards a play, while the West was slightly more effective, running off 19 plays for 97 yards.

“Hey, it was a fun game and I had a fun time playing with all these guys,” Davis said. “I’ll sleep better knowing I won my last high school football game.”

Scoring Summary

West 0 7 0 7-14

East 0 0 7 8-15

2nd Quarter  

West – Brennan Holmes 28 pass from Logan Kushner (Josh Reilly kick), 11:18

3rd Quarter

East – Dean Hangey 52 pass from Quinn Henicle (Jack Corrigan kick), 3:50

4th Quarter

West – Kushner 34 run (Reilly kick), 11:12

East – Hangey 34 pass from Mikal Davis (Johann Hennigan from Davis), 7:27

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been covering high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter @JSantoliquito. Follow on Twitter @EPAFootball.

Follow on Twitter @EPAFootball

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