Skip to main content

Arkansas All-Star weekend: Big performances by several receivers allow East to post dominating win in football game

Three second-quarter TD passes from game MVP Cameron Scarlett enabled the East to pull away from the West.

By Kyle Sutherland | Photos by Ted McClenning 

CONWAY — An exceptional day by the receiving corps and shutdown defense helped the East football squad to a dominating 54-9 win against the West at Estes Stadium in the final contest of the 2022 Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star games.

Harding signee Braden Jay (Cabot), Henderson State signee Jody Easter (McGehee) and Southern Arkansas signee Jackie Washington (El Dorado) combined to haul in 15 passes for 330 yards and five touchdowns.

Those three will all face off against each other at the next level for years to come as each college they will be attending is in the Great American Conference.

“It is going to be fun,” Jay said. “I am going to know a lot of DII kids who did not get heavily recruited and we are all going to play each other.”

Easter echoed Jay’s statement that he is ready to compete against guys whom he formed a relationship with prior to closing the door on his high school career.

“I am looking forward to it,” Easter said. “We became really good friends and learned from each other.”

Things could not have gone much better for the East, nor head coach Tom Sears (Hoxie), who spent some of the final hours of his 51st birthday leading his squad to a huge win.

“I tried to keep that (birthday) on the down low,” Sears said. “I knew all week we had a good bunch and we struggled a little bit offensively because our defense was so good.

"I knew once we got out here and went up against someone else we would be all right. We had some guys who can really play, so it was fun.”

Of all the highlight touchdown plays, none were more entertaining than Washington going the length of the field on a 97-yard grab midway through the third quarter.

The West got on the board to lead 3-0 in the first quarter after Bradley Turnage (Greenbrier) hit a 26-yard field goal just over three minutes into the game.

The East responded by going 80 yards on six plays, capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cade Forrester (Hoxie) - an Arkansas-Monticello signee - to Washington that was countered shortly after by the West on a 55-yard touchdown reception to Chase Cross (Hot Springs Lakeside) from Stran Smith (Benton).

Cross’ score would give the West a 9-7 lead after Turnage’s extra point attempt was blocked, but the West would not see the end zone again from that point on.

The East offense began to dominate in the second quarter on 22 and 43-yard TD receptions from Jay, as well as a 55-yard score to Easter.

As great as the trio of Easter, Jay and Washington were, the quarterbacks also deserved credit for the East, particularly Cameron Scarlett (Nettleton), who threw those three touchdowns in the second quarter and won the game’s Most Valuable Player.

“I thought both (quarterbacks) played really well,” Sears said. I thought Cade was maybe a little tight early, but then he hit a couple of passes and loosened up a little bit. I thought Cameron played great; both of them did.”

The East defense held the West to 273 total yards (compared to the East's 534), including just 2.2 average yards per rush, while forcing four turnovers.

“We struggled there a little bit early on, but we got some momentum that kicked in there in the second quarter,” Sears said.

Along with Scarlett being named MVP, other players from the East who received awards were Easter for Outstanding Offensive Back, Malcolm Perry (West Memphis) for Outstanding Defensive Back and Vaughn Seelicke (Pulaski Academy) for Outstanding Special Teams Player.

For the West, Dylan Horton (Lake Hamilton) was named Outstanding Offensive Lineman, while Parker Gill (Greenwood) was named Outstanding Defensive Lineman.