by Bill Turner
High school football fans were treated to a dandy Friday night as the Southwest defeated the Central 35-17 in the second annual Southwest-Central All-Star Football Classic played at William Fleming High School.
The Southwest rebounded from a 17-14 halftime deficit to score 21 unanswered points in the second half, as seventy-three all-star players represented the two teams that played before an estimated 2,000 fans in ideal mid-June conditions.
Roanoke-area high schools represented included Northside, Patrick Henry, Salem, Glenvar, William Byrd andCave Spring. Tim Fulton was head coach of the Southwest squad and was joined by, among others, former Cave Spring defensive coordinator Jamie Harless, who was named last winter as the new head football coach for Lord Botetourt.
Former Patrick Henry, and new Heritage High School Head Coach Brad Bradley, headed up the Central staff.
Highlights of the game included William Byrd’s Keith Jennings catching five passes for 201 yards, including a 40-yard strike from Alleghany’s Seth Bradley and a 59-yard bomb from Northside’s Adam Hardister that accounted for the first two Southwest touchdowns.
Jennings and Bradley, who was 11-for-17 in passing completions for the game, shared the Southwest offensive MVP honor.
Bradley also hooked up with Byrd’s Joe Barton on a 27-yard touchdown pass, while Hardister fired a 21-yard fourth-quarter touchdown toss to GW Danville’s Alan Smith that closed out the scoring and sealed the victory for the Southwest.
Roanoke-area ‘Big-11’ standouts on the Southwest All-Stars included Hardister and Gino Saunders of Northside, Nick Conte of Patrick Henry, Marty Bishop of Salem, Tyler Francis and Ryan Gerhardt of Cave Spring, Jacob Mabry of Glenvar, and Jennings and Joe Barton of William Byrd.