US Army All Americans step up

The West dominates the East, unexpectedly. One of the main reasons for this lopsided win was due, in part, to their raised level of play on game day. Watching practice all week, the front seven of the East's defense looked unstoppable.

Today, West players like Ahmad Paige, Chris Strong, Ryan Mallett, Travis Lewis, and Kris O'Dowd were gamers. Ahmad Paige looked quicker and more fluid than he had throughout the week. He caught the ball well and ran pretty crisp routes. These accomplishments were done with a sore left ankle but Admad gutted it out for every practice and today's game, making a real impact.

Chris Strong, who had switched from linebacker to defensive end this week, showed why he was invited to be in this prestigious event. Chris elevated his play and got good penetration in the East's backfield. He was quick, active and played on the edge with the enthusiasm for the game that we'd heard about.

Ryan Mallett started the first day of practice showing off his big arm and was impressive. After the first day, he was inconsistent and lost some accuracy. However, today he sure looked like the Time Warner Cable Texas Player of the Year, throwing lasers through and over the East defense. Ryan's "cannon arm" was again evident as he demonstrated good accuracy, throwing with tremendous confidence.

The West's Travis Lewis was another who played more than one position. Lewis started the week as a running back but joined the defense in the afternoon of the first day. His addition to the linebacking crew gave them some much needed quickness and explosive play. He showed up today, looking very active.

Finally, there's Kris O'Dowd. Kris was good all week but the job he did on "all everything" Marvin Austin was special. O'Dowd was inserted at center on day one and took to it right away. His tenacious and physical play against Austin, and the rest of the East's defensive line, was a BIG reason for the limited penetration by his very talented opponents.

Winning all-star games take great individual performances and this group of young men stepped up like "All Americans".

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