WEST COVINA — After a two-year break, the East is back on top in the SGV All-Star Game.Damien wide receiver Josh Bryan caught two long touchdown passes and the East defense came up with a big stop late to preserves a 24-21 victory in the 39th installment of the game on Friday night at West Covina High.
“I was just glad to see us get a win,” Bryan said. “It was just a comeback (in the series). It’s what we needed to get the East side going to make sure we get more players out here next year and keep it going. It’s a blessing.”
Bryan caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Chino Hills quarterback Austin Zavala on the East’s first possession of the second half. The East later made it 24-14 on a short field goal by Bonita kicker Garrett Dean.
The West answered on its next possession and got to within three on a touchdown pass from St. Francis quarterback Michael Bonds to Arcadia receiver Raeshawn Roland with 10:45 left to play in the fourth quarter.
It appeared the East was set to run out the clock during a long drive on the ensuing possession but a mishandled handoff resulted in a fumble that the West recovered at its own 16 with 2:48 left to play.
The West made its way into East territory, but went no further than the 45 and was stopped on downs after El Rancho quarterback Adam Chandler’s pass was deflected away on fourth-and-long with 1:15 left. Chandler was later named West team MVP. Lineman MVP honors went to the East’s Hugo Esqueda of Upland.
Bryan started the scoring with a 56-yard touchdown reception from Montclair quarterback Andrew Harrison. The East’s next possession saw some nifty runs by Northview’s Kevin Thomas to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by San Dimas’ Jarrel Sykes to make it 14-0.
The West broke through for its first score on a 50-yard touchdown from Bonds to La Salle’s Amon Milliner, who took a short pass the distance to make it 14-7. Chandler later scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 14-14 at halftime.
The East improved its overall series edge to 24-13-2. The East had won seven consecutive games prior to the 2015 game when the West won the first of back-to-back games in the series.
— Aram Tolegian