KY All-Stars win spirited game 41-27

Despite a slow start, the All-Stars representing Kentucky came from behind to defeat the Tennessee All-Stars in a game full of emotion.

Despite watching the snap from center sail out of the back of the end zone on the second play from scrimmage and finding themselves down 20-6 late in the first half, the Kentucky All-Stars remained focused to come from behind and claim a 41-27 victory over the Tennessee All-Stars.

Kentucky turned to receiver JuJuan Spillman early in the first quarter, when Curtis Pulley found him deep for a 64-yard touchdown. Despite a failed extra point attempt, the Bluegrass All-Stars grabbed an early 6-2 lead.

"I told the quarterbacks, they can't check me deep," Spillman said afterwards. "I told them that if they just throw it, I'll catch it. Curtis Pulley threw a good pass. They just couldn't check me one-on-one."

The Tennessee offense finally responded midway through the second quarter when Tyler Lorenz converted a 42-yard field goal. South Carolina-bound quarterack Cade Thompson found Alabama-bound Travis Sikes for a 12-yard touchdown pass on their next possession, giving the visiting team a 13-6 advantage. A fumble by Kentucky's Kelvin Turner was returned 3-yards for a score by another Alabama signee Baron Huber pushing the Tennessee lead to 20-6 with 1:26 remaining in the first half.

Boyle County quarterback Brandon Smith quickly led the offense downfield, finding high school teammate Greg Peck on a 32 yard pass play, setting up a first and ten at the visitor's 12 yard line. Unable to move the ball, All-Star head coach David Buchanan chose to go for the score on 4th and 5 from the 7-yard line. Smith, unable to find an open receiver, found a seam up the middle and rushed in for the score.

"We knew the game wasn't over," defensive end Earl Heyman said. "There was still another half to play and we knew we could comeback. That touchdown right before halftime was really big for us."

Trailing 20-13 after the halftime break, Kentucky once again turned to the Louisville-bound Spillman. The PRP All-State performer took a pass from Pulley for 12-yards into the end zone. Another failed conversion left the home squad trailing 20-19.

"The other receivers made two key blocks on that play," Spillman explained. "They opened it up for me."

Defensive back Dustin Menetrey, who will play his college ball at Georgetown College, intercepted a Thompson pass on Tennessee's next play, setting up a 19-yard touchdown pass from Smith to tight end Zipp Duncan.

Kentucky's 27-20 advantage didn't last long as the Volunteer All-Star's evened the score two possessions later on a 1 yard run by Chad Thompson.

David Jones took the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and a 34-27 Kentucky lead. An interception moments later by Boyd County's Caleb Meenach set up a Curtis Pulley 26-yard touchdown run and secure the 41-27 win.

"We bonded as a team real well all week during practice," said Louisville-bound offensive lineman Mike Donoghue. "It feels good to really blow out Tennessee."

Players on both sidelines played with high emotion from the beginning of the game, which eventually led to a bench clearing situation as time expired on the clock. Game officials restored order on the field before the situation could escalate to a much worse ending.

"Tennessee had lost the last three games, so we knew they would come out fired up," Spillman said of the emotion on the field. "It got pretty hot with a couple guys out there."

"I knew that would happen - especially when we got up big on them," Lamar Alston added. "You could tell that they really wanted to win after losing the last three games."

Notes from the Sidelines:

  • Earl Heyman was a man among boys. The High School All-American was essentially unblockable all evening and had a frequent presence in the Tennessee backfield. His focus in the weight room was clear as he appeared to be in great game shape.
  • U of L signee Maurice Grinter saw limited action due to a sore back stemming from an injury during practice earlier in the week.
  • Kentucky signee Curtis Pulley won his team's Most Valuable Player award, which left more than a few surprised. While the Hopkinsville native performed well in the second half, many thought the honor should have been extended to David Jones, who will also play at Kentucky, or U of L signee's JuJuan Spillman or Earl Heyman.
  • Michigan-bound athlete Brandon Logan of Lexington Catholic High School sat out the majority of the game after pulling his hamstring.

    STATISTICS

    Tennessee21807 -27
    at Kentucky67622 -41

    First quarter

    Tenn -Safety, Collins snap bounced out of end zone, 11:18

    Kent -Spillman 64 pass from Pulley (run failed), 8:55

    Second quarter

    Tenn -FG 42 Lorenz, 7:16

    Tenn -Sikes 12 pass from Thompson (Hill pass from Thompson), 5:18

    Tenn -Huber 3 fumble return (Lorenz kick), 1:26

    Kent -Smith 7 run (Masthay kick), 0:02

    Third quarter

    Kent -Spillman 12 pass from Pulley (kick blocked), 00:33

    Fourth quarter

    Kent -Duncan 19 pass from Smith (Duncan pass from Smith), 11:27

    Tenn -Thompson 1 run (Lorenz kick), 4:24

    Kent -Jones 99 kickoff return (Masthay kick), 4:12

    Kent -Pulley 26 run (Masthay kick), 3:19

    TennKent
    First downs1613
    Rushes-yards24-2626-85
    Passing322172
    Comp-Att-Int22-46-311-25-1
    Return Yards43190
    Punts-Avg.4-40.04-41.0
    Fumbles-Lost2-21-1
    Penalties-Yards7-483-35
    Time of Possession28:4519:15

    INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

    RUSHING -Tennessee, Coker 11-16, Sweeney 3-9, Hill 1-8, Harris 5-(minus-1), Thompson 3-(minus-5), TEAM 1-(minus-1). Kentucky, Smith 5-38, Pulley 8-23, Robbins 2-22, Turner 5-8, Peck 1-6, Spillman 1-4, Grinter 1-0, A. Smith 1-(minus-2), TEAM 2-(minus-14).

    PASSING -Tennessee, Thompson 17-30-3-269, Sweeney 5-16-0-53. Kentucky, Pulley 7-14-1-120, Smith 4-11-0-52.

    RECEIVING -Tennessee, Hill 7-96, Hall 4-110, Sikes 4-66, Harris 3-20, Singleton 2-23, Coker 1-6, Webster 1-1. Kentucky, Spillman 5-89, Duncan 3-40, Peck 2-42, Robinson 1-1.


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