Published: Friday, June 29, 2012
EWING — What was supposed to be an offensive explosion by the West all-stars instead turned into a dominating display by their defense.
Keeping the East all-stars out of the end zone until the final eight seconds, the West ended four years of losing in the Sunshine All-Star Football Game by posting a 16-6 win last night in the 16th annual game played at The College of New Jersey's Lions Stadium in front of a crowd of 5,684.
Led by quarterback Ray Mastroianni of Bridgewater Raritan [pictured in photo at right], who won the Trentonian Game MVP Award, the West used a balanced offense, but an even more impressive defense to win easily.
Mastroianni threw a touchdown pass of 15 yards to West Windsor South's Marty Flately with 2:54 remaining and went on to finish 9-for-14 for 88 yards. He was also had nine carries for 70 yards.
Jihad Bryant of Lawrence, who was named the West Outstanding Back with eight carries for 56 yards, scored the other touchdown for coach Todd Smith's WW-P South offense with a 31-yard run in the second period.
Offensively, Smith used a three-quarterback package with his own QB Chris Evans, sharing series with Mastroianni and John Von Nessen of Hillsborough.
But it was the West defense led by Jake Graziano of Hopewell Valley and Notre Dame's Jimmy King that controlled the trenches and kept the East offense from getting any running attack going. It also put a heavy pass rush on QBs Esayah Obado of Nottingham and Bret Dawidowski of Robbinsville.
King won the West Lineman of the Game award.
King, headed to Bucknell, had an awesome night as he blocked a field goal in the first half, had nine tackles, two sacks and stripped the ball from Obado that led to the Bryant touchdown with 5:54 left in the half.
"They were a good team and made some nice plays in the second half," said Obado, who will be playing next for Delaware State.
"It was a hard-fought game, and they did a nice job. We couldn’t get started," he said.
Esayah Obado led the East offense with 22 yards rushing and was 7-for-14 passing for 83 yards to earn East Offensive MVP honors.
Steinert's Kazier John was the East Defensive MVP after posting six tackles and a sack. All the individual awards were sponsored by The Trentonian.
"The good thing about this game is that it's a benefit game for a good cause [Sunshine Foundation]," said John. "It was an honor to get picked for it, and fun to play in."
WEST 16 EAST 6
East 0 0 0 6 - 6
West 0 9 0 7 - 16
W - Eldridge 32 field goal
W - Bryant 31 run (kick failed)
W - Flately 15 pass from Mastroianni (Eldridge kick)
E - Stroman 1 run (kick blocked)