Football

Eastmoor's Perez leads East to Cap City win

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Having not played as a junior, Martine Perez spent his senior season with the Eastmoor Academy High School football team last fall trying to get his name on the radar of college recruiters.

The 6-foot, 190-pound running back and defensive back used the Cap City Senior Bowl on June 21 at Reynoldsburg as another steppingstone to his future.

Perez, who will attend the College of DuPage -- a two-year community college in Glen Ellyn, Ill. -- with an eye on eventually playing at a higher level, rushed for a touchdown and had an interception to help lead the East to a 21-0 win over the West.

He rushed for 105 yards on four carries and had three receptions for 14 yards and was named the East's Offensive MVP.

"It was fun," Perez said. "I had a great senior year but want to get more exposure."

The East moved from its own 33-yard line to the West 14 on the game's opening drive, but Perez was stopped 2 yards short on fourth-and-4.

Perez, who rushed for 23 touchdowns and more than 1,100 yards last season and made first-team all-district in Division III, opened the scoring on a 92-yard run with 7 minutes, 34 seconds left in the first half.

Later in the second quarter, Mifflin's Raymond Crowder recovered a fumble for the West, which then moved the ball to the East 23 before Westerville South quarterback Timmy Bates was intercepted by the East's DeVante Collins.

Collins, a 5-10, 300-pound defensive tackle from Marion-Franklin who had a fumble recovery last season but no interceptions in his career with the Red Devils, was named the East's Defensive MVP.

"They had been doing screens, so I thought I should drop back into coverage and (the ball) came right to me," said Collins, who has committed to playing for Siena Heights University in Adrian, Mich. "It was real good. I'm glad I got to put on Red Devil equipment for one last time and play with some different people who had been my rivals since I was 6 years old."

Brookhaven's Davon Grant of the West ended the East's ensuing drive by intercepting Columbus East quarterback James Curry with a minute left in the first half. The West could not capitalize on the turnover, however, as the East's Brandon Paschal of Walnut Ridge picked off another Bates pass on the final play of the first half.

After forcing a punt with 8 minutes left in the third quarter, the East needed only three plays to drive 50 yards for a score, as Reynoldsburg quarterback Jordan Aekins threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Marion-Franklin's Shannon Royster.

Perez and Gahanna's Augustine Konadu each had third-quarter interceptions for the East, which scored its final touchdown on a 1-yard run by Aekins with 1:13 left. Aekins had rushed for 19 yards on the previous play.

Milan Smith, who was named coach at Harvest Prep in March, coached the East team.

"It's a blessing to start off with a win," Smith said.

Grant, who was named the West's Defensive MVP, was one of nine players listed on his team's roster who played for Brookhaven, which recently closed.

"Brookhaven will always live on in some way," said Grant, who received a nomination to attend the Naval Academy. "The game was fun. I enjoyed myself out there."

Bates completed 17 of 30 passes for 183 yards. His former Westerville South teammate, wide receiver Torrodd Carter, had six catches for 87 yards and was named Offensive MVP for the West.

Also for the West, Westerville Central's Micah Lowe had four catches for 69 yards and Columbus West's Charles Holland had five receptions for 20 yards.

"It was great to play with all of the new players and it was great to play my last game with Tim Bates," said Carter, who has committed to playing for Eastern Kentucky University.

Aekins, who was one of nine players from Reynoldsburg on the East roster, was 7-for-12 passing for 69 yards and rushed six times for 28 yards.

Others on the East roster who impressed Smith were center Anthony Hines and defensive end Corey Beal from Reynoldsburg, St. Charles offensive lineman David Heil, Walnut Ridge defensive lineman Daveon Miskel, Columbus East linebacker Nate Burkes and Independence running back DeAntae Townsend.

"We ran a bunch of shell coverage on them since, obviously, you have to play pretty vanilla because of the (defensive) rules," Smith said. "Our goal was to play coverage and try to box out (Holland) because he's (a) pretty good (wide receiver). We really tried to keep their quarterback off rhythm."

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