East-West All-Star Football: Dixon, Smith play well, have fun
By Ryan Bisesi
GREENSBORO — Adam Smith had found the perfect way to end his prep career.
It was a nice sense of accomplishment for the Davie County quarterback who kept a keeper for 56 yards on the first play he participated in during the East-West All-Star game.
“I don’t think they really knew I could run the ball like that,” Smith said of the speed option to the left. “I cut it back and there was a huge hole.”
Holding nullified the play, but the message was clear. Smith could run like that. That’s why he’s going to Guilford.
“We knew what he could do running the ball,” West coach Mike Sexton said. “He proved that he could do it on a regular high school field or in front of All-Stars.”
The following snap saw West Iredell’s C.J. Gibbs 78-yard touchdown reception wiped out. Another hold. It was pretty much that way the whole night for the West in a 34-9 loss to the East at Jamieson Stadium. Whether or not you agreed with the calls, East pretty much dominated this one, winning for the first time since 2009. The West fell behind 21-3 at halftime and never got back in it.
“That’s the nature of the beast,” Sexton said. “It does effect kids when you make two big plays and it’s called back.”
Smith came in for a few series under center in the second half and led one of the few significant drives. Smith got down to the 1-yard line on a West march that started at its own 19 and got the call on the following play. He was met in the backfield on a bruising hit by linebacker Jordan Butler.
“He was there and my head was down,” Smith said. “He hit me pretty hard.”
Thomasville’s Sha’Quann Johnson was stuffed on fourth down a play later.
West finally got in the end zone on a 21-yard catch by Marcus McDowell with 5:08 left in the game.
West Rowan’s Greg Dixon got in at noseguard for much of the first half. The West defense struggled, allowing 123 rushing yards in the first half. After Jereme Gamble collected an interception on the opening drive of the game, West took over at the East 30 but lost six yards on a sack and turned it over on downs.
“This is a game of big plays and other than a couple drives, we just didn’t have any big plays,” Sexton said.
Dixon had a tackle for loss in the game and elaborated on his post-high school status. After initially signing with Division II West Liberty in the spring, Dixon said he plans to attend Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Va. to get his grades up and hopefully work out something with a four-year school. The loss, nor the change in plans, had him down down, as he was lively in the postgame handshake, joking and chatting with the East players.
“I came here to have fun,” Dixon said. “You can ask anybody here. I’m always laughing, goofing off, keeping everybody up at all times.”
West Montgomery’s Ja’Quil Capel tied a East-West record with four touchdowns and broke off a 45-yard run on his last carry. Capel also threw a 32-yard halfback pass down to the West 1-yard line in one of the game’s most exciting plays. Shaheed Swinson was offensive MVP with 88 yards rushing on eight carries in front of 7,623 fans.
Donjore’ Gainey ended East’s second drive on a 3-yard touchdown run and that was all it would need.
Chad Hollandsworth’s 25-yard field goal made it 7-3 with 2:48 left in the first quarter.
A 1-yard run by Capel made it 21-3 to cap a nine-play, 80-yard possession.
After a halftime filled with fireworks, the lights came back on, but West still had a power outage, gaining only 48 yards of offense in the third quarter. East widened its edge on a 12-yard burst from Capel.
West finally found the end zone on McDowell’s 21-yard reception from Taylor McCurry. Capel scored his fourth TD with 1:55 left to complete the scoring.
East snapped a two-game losing streak in the series and pulled the all-time record to 37-26-1 in West’s favor.
“This was a great experience, a great week,” Dixon said. “I came out here to have fun and meet new people. Even though we didn’t win, I’m still glad I came here.”