LaBelle kicker David Antunez, a late fill-in, hits game-winning FG in Palm Beach-Treasure Coast All-Star game
Saturday, January 14, 2012
by Jeff Greer
American team players, including Jupiter Christian quarterback Kedric Bostic (10), celebrate their 13-12 win. Click for more game photos. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
GREENACRES -- David Antunez wasn't on the original game roster and he didn't play a single minute of football in Palm Beach County this season.
Nonetheless, the LaBelle kicker came up huge for the American team on Saturday night in the Palm Beach County-Treasure Coast High School All-Star Game at John I. Leonard, nailing the game-winning field goal in a 13-12 slugfest.
Antunez, who opened the scoring with a first-quarter field goal, split the uprights from 28 yards out with 1:24 to play. His kick completed an impressive comeback for the American team, which was comprised of players from the Treasure Coast and the northern and western parts of Palm Beach County.
"They believed in me," said Antunez, who replaced Dwyer kicker Bobby Puyol on the roster and only practiced with his team twice this week. "They let me kick it. My teammates trusted me to go out there."
Antunez couldn't even finish his thought - he was mobbed by his teammates at the 50-yard line when he was named the American team's most valuable player.
Lake Worth quarterback Evan Moore, who led a National team comprised of players from the southern and eastern parts of Palm Beach County, won his team's MVP award.
Moore was 13-of-28 for 172 yards, throwing one touchdown and one interception. He ran for 37 yards and was the most active and exciting offensive player all night.
"It was exciting. I'd rather win, though," Moore said. "It's great to be on a team like this, but it's horrible to lose by a point."
It looked like Moore and company would dominate after the game's slow start. Down 3-0, Moore engineered two long, second-quarter drives to push his team ahead 12-3.
Royal Palm Beach running back Tremane McCullough's 1-yard punch-in gave the National team its first lead. Moore then hit Village Academy receiver and West Virginia commit Devonte Robinson on a 5-yard touchdown pass for the second score.
But a failed extra point and two-point conversion on those scores would haunt the National team in the second half.
Ty Jackson, Centennial's explosive cornerback who played for the American team, made up for two lost fumbles with a sprawled-out interception midway through the third quarter.
That pick led to a 33-yard scoring drive for the Americans, who got their touchdown on a 1-yard sneak from Jupiter Christian quarterback Kedric Bostic.
Bostic, who finished 12-of-26 for 125 yards and one interception, led his team's game-winning drive with a slew of quick-strike passes and well-timed runs.
Centennial running back Mike Nesmith, who ran 14 times for 68 yards, chewed up 38 yards on the final drive, too.
It was Bostic's 21-yard bullet to Treasure Coast receiver Kevin Orozco that put the American team in field-goal position at the 11-yard line. Nesmith got three tries at the end zone, but the National team, which had a loaded defensive line, held firm.
The Nationals threatened, though, after Antunez's kick, with Moore playing the role as the team's most dangerous player.
He completed three passes for 51 yards and ran once for an 8-yard gain, but his 20-yard pass to McCullough ate up too much time, and the clock ran out.
"It was a great football game, a great event," said Leonard coach and game host Wayne Monroe. "You can tell the kids on both sides had a lot of fun, and it was great to see (Antunez) get the MVP."