Commentary

Big plays, stingy D carry Black team

Easley, Dowling lead Black team to 32-7 win in Under Armour All-America Game

Originally Published: January 2, 2010
By Jc Shurburtt | Scouts Inc.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A smothering defense led the Black team to a 32-7 victory over the White team in the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field. It was the largest margin of victory in the three-year history of the game.

The Black team held the White team to 125 yards of total offense (only 31 rushing) and had three interceptions. The White team also had seven fumbles and lost three of them.

Storm Johnson
David De Pas for ESPN.comMiami commit Storm Johnson and the Black team blew by the White team.
Florida defensive line commit Dominique Easley, who committed to the Gators during the game, won MVP honors for the Black team and caused plenty of havoc. He had three tackles for loss and a sack and forced a fumble.

"He's a special player," Black team head coach Sam Wyche said. "I got to where I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I was impressed with his first step. I told my son who was with me on the sideline to watch the first step of the No. 47 out there against the left guard and boom, the first play, he did a spin move and was back in the quarterback's face."

Easley was just happy to be a part of the winning team.

"It was a big day for the Black team," he said. "I am just so blessed to get this opportunity. I just came out there and worked hard."

After taking a 12-7 lead, the Black team pulled away in the third quarter thanks to a pair of Dallas Metroplex-area stars and Longhorns commits scoring touchdowns for the Black team.

Wide receiver Mike Davis caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Alabama commit Phillip Sims with 1:58 remaining to give the Black team a 26-7 lead. This was set up by Easley's forced fumble and the subsequent return by defensive tackle Taylor Bible, another future Longhorn.

Earlier in the defensive-dominated third quarter, Texas receiver commit Darius White returned a punt 35 yards for a touchdown to put the Black team ahead 19-7.

Florida commit safety Jonathan Dowling had a pair of interceptions that led to the game's first and last TDs.

In the first quarter, he picked off a Jesse Scroggins pass and returned it 56 yards for the game's first touchdown to put the Black team up 6-0. His second pick came on the last play of the third quarter to give the Black team the ball at the White team's 9-yard line. That drive ended when Michigan quarterback commit Devin Gardner connected with White for an 11-yard touchdown to extend the Black team's lead to 32-7.

On the first drive of the game, the White team was backed up to its own 1-yard line after fumbling the opening kickoff, but a quick, acrobatic pass from an airborne Scroggins to Michael Dyer for a 28-yard gain and a first down allowed them to get out of the hole and into White team territory. But as great as that play was, the drive ended poorly with Scroggins throwing the interception to Dowling.

On the ensuing drive, Scroggins fumbled and Easley recovered on the first play at the Black team 23. Nick Montana found Ohio State receiver commit James Louis for a first down and Storm Johnson had a couple of nice runs before kicker Cody Parkey missed a 27-yard field goal.

During the next series, the Black team recovered a fumbled snap at the White team 10. Two plays later, Montana scrambled around and found another future Florida Gator, receiver Solomon Patton, for a 5-yard touchdown to put the Black team ahead 12-0.

With 6:26 remaining in the first half, the White team got on the board when Demar Dorsey fumbled a punt and Brandon Coleman recovered and went 26 yards into the end zone. UCLA commit Kip Smith kicked the game's first extra point to cut the Black team's lead to 12-7.

But that was about the lone highlight for coach Ted Marchibroda's White team.

"We never could get into any rhythm offensively," he said. "We sort of thought in the second half, we would bounce back and get field position, but it wasn't much different. "

Tennessee linebacker commit Michael Taylor was the MVP for the White team. He had three tackles and one for loss.

Quarterback Chase Rettig (Sierra Madre, Calif./San Clemente) also had a good day for the White team, completing 7 of 15 passes for 66 yards, including a 43-yard completion to James. Rettig will enroll at Boston College later this month.

JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at jcsespn@aol.com.