DAVISON – Saturday’s second annual Flint-area High School Football All-Star Game was something to behold. A tale of two halves would be an understatement. The Rise came out and struck early, holding the momentum in the opening half, but it was reversed throughout the second half, and in a four-overtime thriller, the Grind came back to win, 27-21.
The game was to benefit Mission 22, a foundation to help prevent veteran suicide, so all of the players had No. 22 on their shoulders.
The Rise got a steady drive going in the first quarter, taking them into the red zone, before the Grand Blanc connection got to work. Kevin Coriasso found teammate, and Eastern Michigan commit, Blake Bogan for a 9-yard score. Davison’s Graham Hungerford booted through the extra point to give the Rise an early 7-0 lead.
Grand Blanc’s chemistry continued to link up in the second quarter when another long Rise drive culminated in a 17-yard touchdown strike from Coriasso to Andre Mason. Bendle’s Barak Hernandez converted the PAT, making it a 14-0 lead.
The Grind attempted to put together a drive late in the half, but a lost fumble put a halt to that effort.
The third quarter didn’t see any points, however, there were some big interceptions. New Lothrop’s Brayden Bitterman started those highlights with a diving interception for the Rise. Moments later, the Grind got it right back with a pick from Holly’s Griffin Backs. Later in the frame, Flint Beecher’s Marcus Green intercepted the ball for the Grind and had a nice return near midfield.
When the fourth began, the Grind really began to turn it around with a Holly-to-Holly hookup. Kyle Staple hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Stapleton to finally get on the board and cut the Rise lead in half.
As the game got into the later moments, it seemed as though the Rise were about to put it away. They lined up for a 32-yard field goal, but Hungerford’s kick bounced off the left upright with less than two minutes remaining, giving the Grind one last chance at redemption.
A long, but quick drive had the Grind all the way down to the Rise two-yard line when Stapleton connected with Brandon’s Amarae Kittles to tie the game. There was still some time left on the clock, so the Rise launched the ball into the end zone, but Davison’s Ryan Schlak intercepted the pass to force the game into overtime.
It was a modified version of regular season overtime, in which each team only got one play from the 10-yard line per overtime. Extra points were 35-yard field goals, in the third overtime the plays moved up to the five, and in the fourth overtime, the teams were forced to go for two.
Neither team could find the end zone during the first two overtimes, but in the third, Coriasso once again found Smith for the touchdown to put the Rise back up 21-14. The Grind quickly responded with a touchdown from Stapleton to Corunna’s Owen Walter, keeping the game alive.
Stapleton then hit Lake Fenton’s Liam King in the fourth overtime, but the two-point attempt failed. The Rise had one last shot to tie the game, but their pass into the end zone was broken up.
The game drew a nice-sized crowd to Davison’s Cardinal Stadium and included players from several schools, including Flint Southwestern, Corunna, Davison, Flushing, Holly, Carman- Ainsworth, Flint Northwestern, Fenton, Flint Beecher, Mt. Morris, Brandon, Lake Fenton, Holly, Goodrich, New Lothrop, Flushing, Swartz Creek, Bendle, Montrose, Kearsley, LakeVille, Linden, Grand Blanc, Flint Powers Catholic and Clio.