LONGVIEW - D.J. Williams gave Howard Payne a little taste of what he wants to bring to the next level. Michael Edmondson may play a different position now at Trinity University.
Both produced Player of the Game performances for their respective all-star teams with the Blue ultimately coming out on top 17-7 Saturday in the Chick-fil-A Heart of a Champion Bowl at Lobo Stadium.
Williams, an Elkhart graduate, won the award on offense, thanks to his 75 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
“It was probably the most fun thing I have ever done,” said Williams, whose longest run of the game was 51 yards out of the Wildcat to go with two short scoring blasts. “I was very happy (when they lined up that way) because we do that a lot at my school. This was a pretty great way to (close out my high school career).”
Edmondson signed with Trinity as a playmaker on offense. Playing for the Red Team, the Hawkins graduate was asked to play safety on defense. He intercepted two passes, two more than in his whole career.
“My head coach kind of talked me up and said I could do it,” Edmondson said with a grin. “Offense is a little more fun. I am actually a little worried (Trinity may play me on defense).”
Edmondson’s two interceptions were part of a combined five picks made by the two teams in the game as the defense led the way most of the evening. Palestine defensive lineman Jake Neal had an interception in the first half for the Red All-Stars.
Overton’s Jacob Marshall and Van’s Connor Houston picked off passes for the Blue All-Stars.
Houston seemed to be in every play, his biggest tackle denying Longview running back D’Crayvan Polk a chance for a big run by cutting him down after a 10-yard gain.
“It was just a great opportunity to strap it up with these guys one last time.” Houston said. “We have a lot of athletes out here in East Texas just making plays. I couldn’t ask for a better experience; the relationships I have made and everything I have learned from the whole experience.”
The Red All-Stars took the lead in the first quarter with Polk doing the honors on a 2-yard touchdown run. Sabine’s Josh Trice converted the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
A big sack on fourth down by Kilgore’s Cole Wood gave Blue the ball with good field position.
From there, Williams and the Blue offensive line began to assert themselves. A 14-yard run moved the Blue All-Stars into the red zone with Williams eventually bulldozing in for an 8-yard touchdown. Elkhart teammate Jacob Walters converted the first of two extra points, and also had a 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to eventually seal it.
Robert E. Lee offensive lineman Jordan Jones endured a 2-8 season, but he and teammate Santos Perez helped pave the way for Williams to take over the game in the fourth quarter. Williams broke loose for a 53-yard run out of the Wildcat and later capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown.
“I have been playing with these guys for just three days and it feels like I have known them my entire life,” Jones said afterward. “I have met so many good guys over this past week and I have to say it was a fun and nice experience.”
After Walter’s field goal made it 17-7, Grace Community’s Christopher Wilhelmi attempted to lead the Red to a last-minute comeback. He connected on third-down conversion passes to Pittsburg’s Cris Williams and nearly hooked up on a long touchdown strike to Pittsburg’s Deldric Shields before the clock expired.
“It’s awesome (being in this),” Wilhelmi said. “It’s crazy how fast you can bond with a group of guys that you don’t know. It was really a special week and I felt like we had each other’s backs the whole game.”
Like Wilhelmi, Lee offensive lineman Davone Morgan came out on the wrong side of the scoreboard, but none of that mattered as he shook hands with fellow players and took a last picture with his REL teammates.
“It was a privilege to get to represent Tyler Lee and my friends and family over here, too,” said Morgan, who will be at Houston in the fall studying architecture. “It hurts (not to get the win), but this was a great experience.”
2017 Northeast Texas Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Heart of a Champion Chick-fil-A Football Game
Coach - Kelly Nichols, Bullard
All-Stars - Bailey Brown, Waskom; Camden Brown, Lindale; Lucy Castillo, Longview; McCall Cowart, Bullard; Madison Daigre, Waskom; M’Kenna Daniels, Van; Daija Garrett, Longview; Carley Goode, Bullard; Kaylee Jimmerson, Longview; Matayia Jones, Longview; Courtney Lockhart, Lindale; Maci Maddox, Grace Community; Molly McAtee, Eustace; Peyton Mizell, Lindale; Farrah Price, Lindale; Kourtney Sanders, Waskom; Payton Schwartz, Eustace; Layne Scott, Eustace
Coaches - Head Coach: Ryan Gentry, Omaha Paul Pewitt; Consultant: Terry Ward, Harleton; Assistants: August Dobraskia, Paul Pewitt; John Eastman, Troup; Matt Fisher, Paul Pewitt; Kerry Lane, Longview Pine Tree; Johnny Louvier, Frankston; Mike Meador, Lindale; Stuart Proctor, Redwater
Players - 1: DB Michael Edmonson, Harmony; 2: WR Deldric Shields, Pittsburg; 3: DB Kartney Hampton, Mineola; 4: QB Christopher Wilhelmi, Grace Community; 6: QB Montana Meador, Lindale; 7: DB Keundre Wilson, Longview; 8: DB Adam McKinney, Grace Community; 9: RB Adam McKinney, Grace Community; 10: DB Traveion Webster, Longview; 11: WR Max Kutch, White Oak; 13: RB Evan Galyean, Alba-Golden; 15: WR Parker Ary, Grace Community; 17: DB Noah Bain, All Saints; 18: RB Melek Hamilton, Kilgore; 19: WR Tyshun Mitchell, Omaha Paul Pewitt; 20: RB Braylon Shackelford, Whitehouse; 21: DB Kaleb Ford-Dement, Whitehouse; 23: WR Cris Williams, Pittsburg; 26: DL Austin Davis, Bullard; 27: DB Clint Starling, Gladewater; 28: RB D’Crayvan Polk, Longview; 31: LB Edward Reese, Palestine; 32: K/P Josh Trice, Sabine; 33: LB Kale Ridge, Longview; 34: LB Brooks Parham, Bullard Brook Hill; 35: DL DeCorian Horton, Chapel Hill; 38: DL Nathan Mize, Gilmer; 40: RB Cole Freeman, New Diana; 42: DL Daqaulon Armstrong, Longview Spring Hill; 44: LB Josh Spitzer, Grace Community; 50: DL Slate Wiseman, Sabine; 55: DL Marquil Davis, Troup; 57: OL Cade Rester, Pittsburg; 60: OL Joshua Deal, Whitehouse; 64: OL Davone Morgan, Tyler Lee; 65: DL Derek Landrum, Bullard; 66: OL Collin Keifer, Sabine; 70: OL Kendrell Booty, Marshall; 71: OL Kendall Starling, Longview; 72: OL Nic Smith, Commerce; 75: OL Jovani Zavala, Omaha Paul Pewitt; 76: DL Jake Neal, Palestine; 77: DL Jake Neal, Palestine; 77: OL Dylan Scarlett, Kilgore; 78: OL Jessy Darrow, Sulphur Springs; 99: DL Nathan Boutin, Henderson; WR Javon Lewis, Beckville.
Coaches - Head Coach: Paul Gould, Alto; Consultant: Tim Russell, Harmony; Assistants: Luke Balkom, Alto; Randy Barnes, Rains; Scott Holzhauer, Mount Enterprise; John King, Longview; Josh Moore, Alto; Richard Strickland, Overton; Sam Wells, Elkhart
Players - 1: QB Dusty Rhodes, Rains; 2: DB Nick Hughes, Ore City; 3: QB Jeremiah Crawford, Mineola; 4: K/P Jacob Walters, Elkhart; 5: LB Blair Fernandez, Hallsville; 6: DL Mikkah Hackett, Alto; 7: DB Jacob Marshall, Overton; 8: WR Kenny Jackson, Pine Tree; 9: LB Alex Thlang, Elkhart; 10: QB Claude Rodgers, Palestine; 11: WR Chris Kuler, Hallsville; 12: RB Andy Ward, Harleton; 13: DL Cody Davis, Daingerfield; 13: RB Chantz Perkins, Mineola; 14: WR Cole Wood, Kilgore; 15: DL Tyriq Burnett, Wills Point; 16: DB Connor Houston, Van; 18: DL Mason Krantz, Rains; 19: DB Carlos Whitaker, Elkhart; 20: RB Shaffer Russell, Pine Tree; 21: WR Jamal Bell, Brownsboro; 22: RB Kendrevian White, Longview; 23: DL Maalik Hall, Athens; 24: DB LaDarian Hudson, Chapel Hill; 25: RB DJ Williams, Elkhart; 26: DB Tederrol Fuller Jr., Harleton; 27: DB Ethan Tunson-Milton, Bishop Gorman; 29: WR Hayden Stanley, Harleton; 30: WR Malik Estell, Hooks; 31: LB Seth Mahar, Hooks; 33: DB Tre Crayton, Bullard; 34: DL Kourtland Sinches, Mineola; 40: DL Garrett Long, Overton; 44: DL Kevin Tinney II, Kilgore; 45: LB Sheldon Williams, Marshall; 55: OL Ahmad Farrier, Longview; 57: OL Santos Perez, Tyler Lee; 57: DL Isiah Tiner, Gladewater; 60: DL Zkary Wippler, Cumby; 62: OL Weston Thomas, Henderson; 64: OL Waymon Lay, Harmony; 66: DL Emilio Soto, Alto; 70: OL Mikey Marshall, Eustace; 72: OL Noel Rojo, Mabank; 73: OL Cameron Quinney, Longview; 74: OL Alec Thorton, Spring Hill; 77: OL Dakota Payton, Como-Pickton; 78: OL Jordan Jones, Tyler Lee; 99: DL Greg Hood Jr., Marshall.