LAS VEGAS -- Behind four field goals from Michigan’s Jake Moody, the West defeated the East 12-3 in the 98th Shrine Bowl on Thursday at Allegiant Stadium.
Moody made field goals of 51, 51, 35 and 35 yards as both teams were held out of the end zone.
“I knew it was going to be a defensive battle for sure,” Moody said. “Most all-star games are. I’m thankful for the offense getting me opportunities to kick field goals. They put me in a great spot to put points on the board and I’m really thankful for that.”
The East team was coached by the Falcons staff, which was led by special teams coordinator Marquice Williams.
The West team was coached by wide receivers/kick return coach Troy Brown of the Patriots.
The Falcons valued the opportunity to work the Shrine Bowl and get to know the more than 100 players and NFL prospects.
“It hits all touch points with the players,” Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said. “They are actually playing football here as opposed to running 40s and doing drill work. They are actually playing football so these games are really valuable.”
Fontenot noted that historically 50% of the players in the East-West Shrine Bowl end up in the NFL. Also, 25% of the players in the game get drafted.
While there weren’t many offensive fireworks, Arizona State running back Xazavian Valladay rushed 13 times for 76 yards to lead the West.
Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell completed 6 of 16 passes for 61 yards for the East. UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 7 of 17 passes for 95 yards. Both quarterbacks were victimized by several dropped passes.
South Carolina State’s Shaquan Davis, who starred in the 2021 Celebration Bowl in Atlanta, was targeted four times and had a catch for eight yards. He also had one drop.
No receiver had more than two catches for the East.
Louisiana’s Michael Thompson had two catches for 32 yards and Hampton’s Jadakis Bonds had two catches for 26 yards for the West.
With the offenses struggling to move the ball, the East and West were tied 3-3 at halftime.
Moody made a 51-yard field goal with 33 seconds left in the first quarter to put the West up 3-0.
The East answered with a 30-yard field from Syracuse’s Andre Azmyt with 3:30 left in the second quarter.
On the West’s ensuing possession, East defensive end Jose Ramirez (Eastern Michigan) had a sack and strip that was recovered by Western Kentucky’s Brodric Martin at the East’s 20-yard line.
The East was threatening to score when Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan’s pass bounced off a receiver’s hands and popped up in the air.
Florida safety Trey Dean, who played at Dutchtown High, stopped the East’s best scoring threat with an interception.
The West had the ball to start the second half and drove down for another 51-yard field goal by Moody to make it 6-3.
On the East’s next possession, Duke safety Shaka Heyward (Mill Creek High) had an interception, but it was nullified by a defensive holding penalty on cornerback Nic Jones.
The East retained the ball, but was forced to punt.
Chase Brice went in at quarterback for the West squad in the fourth quarter. On his first possession, he was flushed out of the pocket and made an ill-advised pass into coverage. He was intercepted by San Jose State cornerback Nehemiah Shelton.
Brice led Grayson to the state title in 2016 and went on to play at Clemson, Duke and Appalachian State. He passed for 54 touchdowns over his final two collegiate seasons.
Moody hit a 35 yarder to make it 9-3. He added his fourth field goal with 1:16 to play.
“It’s been awesome,” Moody said of his Shrine Bowl experience. “You meet a lot of different people from a lot different schools and backgrounds. It’s pretty fun because its not the same people that you get to see for your four years.”
He’s hoping that he impressed teams looking for a dependable field-goal kicker.
“I’m working down in Florida,” Moody said. “Trying to get as good as I can before the combine and Pro Day. I’m just going to try to do the best that I can. That’s all I can do at the end of the day.”
Falcons tight ends coach Justin Peelle called the offensive plays and linebackers coach Frank Bush called the defensive plays.
“Seeing everybody grow and applying what they learned from the week and into a game format was great,” Williams said. “These guys are from all different parts from around the country and for seven days they came together as a team. Our goal as a staff was to get everybody to go in the same direction. To go out there and put together a great performance.”
Williams was pleased with the effort of the players.
“You can’t get fixated on wins or loss, I think a win for us as an organization and as players is to see these guys grow, put together good film and showcase their talents to the 32 teams,” Williams said.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com