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East Beats West In Orange County Senior Bowl

Just as it did a year ago, the annual East-West Orange County Senior Bowl came down to the final play of the game Wednesday night at Oak Ridge High School.

Lake Nona’s Kyle Herrera booted a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give the East a 20-17 come-from-behind win. Herrera also kicked a 32-yarder to close out the first half.

“I was already real nervous coming into it, then they tried to ice me twice,” Herrera said afterward. “I just threw my career on the line and put everything I had into it.”

East seniors watch as the ball clears the uprights. (Photo by Tim Citek)

Despite outgaining the West in total yards (326-207) the East seniors were forced to overcome six turnovers and a 17-7 deficit late in the second quarter before eventually pulling out the win.

The West built its lead by turning three of those turnovers into scores.

While trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter Edgewater’s Kelvon Davis forced a fumble, which put the West in position to tie the game. It wasn’t long before Bishop Moore quarterback Mike Calabro tucked the football and took off on a 30-yard touchdown run.

West Orange’s Marcus Isom went on to recover a fumble on a bad snap once the East regained possession, setting up a 27-yard field goal by Wekiva’s Kyle McGee. The West extended its lead with less than a minute to play in the second quarter when Wekiva’s Josh West jumped on a loose ball in the end zone following yet another fumble.

But while the West relied on the mistakes of its opponent, the East continued dusting itself off and feeding the ball to Lake Nona’s Jarius Pace and Winter Park’s Brandon Brown-Dukes out of the backfield.

The duo combined for eight carries of more than 10 yards on the night. When they weren’t fighting for extra yardage by making defenders miss by way of shifty moves, they were finding extra room to run thanks to an aggressive offensive line.

“It’s been a long time since I was able to get back in my groove and I felt like I was able to do that tonight,” said Pace, who missed much of the regular season due to injury. “God came through for me. The team came through. I’d like to give all the credit to the o-line for the outstanding blocking they did.”

Pace brushed off two fumbles to finish with 126 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries. He also had a 45-yard reception late in the fourth quarter. Brown-Dukes took 12 carries for 61 yards and caught three passes for 30 yards and a touchdown in the win.

The celebration gets underway for the East seniors. (Photo by Tim Citek)

“It’s a great experience to play with and against all these guys from throughout Orange County, because some of these guys we’ve never had the chance to play against (during the regular season),” said Brown-Dukes.

It was his catch-and-run for a touchdown with 8:31 to go in the third quarter that tied the game at 17-17. Following a 31-yard reception by Winter Park’s Lee Dunnam, on a throw from East River quarterback Josh Jones, Brown-Dukes hauled in a pass while alone in the flat and reached the end zone on a 22-yard gain after sidestepping a defender inside the five-yard line.

“When I turned my head and looked up it was wide open,” Brown-Dukes said. “It’s all natural instinct from there. I just decided to take a jab-step inside and come back out.”

Pace scored the opening points of the night when he took a handoff up the middle and went four yards for the touchdown with 1:18 to go in the first quarter.

He got the scoring drive started on a pitch-out to the right, where he stiff-armed a defender and raced 52 yards down the West sideline. Positive gains by Brown-Dukes, Central Florida Christian Academy’s Karl Bourne and East River’s Michael Elder continued to move the chains before Pace punched it in for the score.

– More Orange County Senior Bowl Highlights –

– Lake Nona’s Chris Compton caught a 23-yard pass from University’s Kyle Sellers with 24 seconds left in the second quarter… Sellers and Josh Jones combined to go 9-of-21 for 139 yards passing for the East.

– Edgewater’s Kelvin Gunning and Wekiva’s Demarius Daniels each intercepted a pass… Olympia’s Josh Cunningham got to the quarterback for a sack during the final seconds of the first half… West Orange’s Diego Quintanar recovered a fumble with two minutes left in the game, but the West replied by going three-and-out.

– Gunning, Ocoee’s Darien Oliver and Edgewater’s Kelvon Davis were among those breaking up passes while West Orange’s Kellen Williams made multiple timely tackles.

– Bishop Moore quarterback Mike Calabro led the West in rushing with 65 yards on four carries… Calabro, Wekiva’s Greg Arnheim and Evans quarterback Dominique Tarver combined to go 7-of-20 for 63 yards passing… Ocoee’s Robenson Roche caught three passes for 18 yards.

– University’s Shane Berry made a clutch interception near the sideline on a pass inside the 10-yard line with a minute left in the second quarter… Winter Park’s Dominique Albert and Timber Creek’s Lavon Moten recorded sacks for the East.

– Stepping up to make big tackles for the East were Winter Park’s Matthew Moody, Lake Nona’s Alex Scott, Timber Creek’s Brandon Tyras, Freedom’s Colin Burke and Kavaris Green, and Colonial’s Larry McNeil and Chad Tajudeen… Colonial’s Ricky Gordon, Freedom’s David Gadson and Cypress Creek’s Nick Gonzalez broke up passes.

– (email JC@OrlandoSportsCentral.com or follow @OrlandoSportsJC and Carnahan Chronicles) –

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  1. Why are none of the Boone players mentioned?

  2. No mention of Apopka, Jones, Lake Highland or Oak Ridge either… check the story on last year’s game, though – http://orlandosportscentral.com/2009/12/boone-seniors-shine-brightest-in-17-14-east-win/

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