Boyd ball shifts power back to West

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, June 15, 2016

By I.C. Murrell

The Orange Leader


BEAUMONT — Josh Boyd, are you willing to trade basketball in for football?

No? That’s cool.

Heading to Northwestern State on a basketball scholarship, the Ozen graduate gave one more memorable football performance Saturday night in the Christus All-Star Classic at Provost-Umphrey Stadium. Boyd all but sealed victory for the West team on a 40-yard up-the-middle dash and earned team MVP honors in a 21-16 decision over the East.

“It’s just something I do, come out and have fun,” Boyd said. “It was just a mental thing, really.”

He rushed 14 times for 142 yards and completed 10 for 15 passes for 138 yards.

This year’s rendition of the Classic, the seventh organized by the Southeast Texas Coaches Association and second sponsored by Christus, was a little more competitive than the previous two, both East victories by two or more touchdowns. That was only after this year’s East team staged a third-quarter comeback to pull within 14-10. The West defense forced the East to punt on its first five possessions.

“You’re looking at nine West Brook players over there, and the guys play 6A football,” Orangefield and East head coach Josh Smalley said. “I think that helps a little bit. … Give credit to their coaches and kids, but I give credit to our coaches and kids, too. They could have laid down when it was 14-0 early, but we didn’t.”

Dontre Thomas of Silsbee overcame a rough start to complete 8 of 13 passes for 149 yards. He netted 44 yards on 4-of-4 passing on a late fourth-quarter drive that ended with his 3-yard dive into the end zone, pulling the East within 21-16. But he was stuffed on the two-point try.

Boyd ran 50 yards to the East 38 on the West’s first march of the second half, but a bad fumble recovered by Austin Moore of Orangefield ended the threat.

Three plays later, Quentin Williams of Jasper broke a 32-yard run to put the East on the board, trailing 14-7. Williams earned offensive MVP accolades for the East.

Bridge City’s Camden DuBois converted a key fourth-and-4 on a 30-yard strike to Aric Cormier of West Orange-Stark down to the West 13.

“I rolled out and I looked, and Justin Carr [of Nederland] was in the flats, and he pulled that defender off AC,” DuBois said. “He burned his man across the middle on that post, and I just turned and threw it to him.”

That led to a 28-yard field goal by Matthew Rainey of Orangefield with 2:01 to go in the third quarter.

Not to be outdone, Boyd came back from an 8-yard sack to spring 40 yards for a touchdown to pad the lead to 21-10 with 57 seconds left in the frame.

“That’s just being athletic,” Boyd said. “I grew up playing both sports. Really, I had to pick one. Football, I was supposed to go [for college] but I wanted to go basketball.”

The East forced the West to punt one more time after a failed onside kick and got one last shot at it with 3 seconds left in the game. But Thomas, deep in his own territory, could manage only a 20-yard pass to Darian Ballard of Kirbyville before time expired.

Tristan Scott of West Orange-Stark won the East team MVP award, with Jutty Vaughn of Chester getting the top award for the West. The players decided the team MVP for each side.

Steven Tims of West Orange-Stark was named the East’s defensive MVP. Reginald McCullough of Sheldon C.E. King, who had five receptions for 61 yards, was the West’s offensive MVP. David Chaisson of West Orange-Stark was chosen the West’s defensive MVP.