Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald

After a lackluster first half, the East rebounded to defeat the West 29-23 Saturday in a thrilling 65th-annual East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.

The East outscored the West 29-10 in a back-and-forth second half during which the teams traded the lead five times, including three times in the final quarter.

The last of those changes came with 2:02 left in the game, when Harrisburg quarterback Tel Jones connected with Cascade Christian’s Carson Cochran on a 28-yard touchdown pass.

On the play, Cochran took the ball out of the hands of a West defender in the end zone for the score.

That same pair had combined several plays earlier on a 60-yard aerial.

Neither team mounted much offense in the opening half, which ended with the West holding a 13-0 halftime edge.

The East totaled just 104 yards in the half, the West just 84.

But the second half was a different game altogether, particularly for the East squad.

The East scored on its opening drive in the third quarter when Jones connected with Thyler Monkus of Stanfield on a 39-yard touchdown pass. Michael Young of Vale booted the conversion kick to pull East to within 13-7 midway through the third quarter.

Three players later the East took its first lead.

After the kickoff, the West fumbled the ball on the first play at its own 16. After an East penalty set the ball back to the 21, Jones raced around end on a quarterback keeper for the go-ahead score.

Then the seesaw game began.

The West regained the lead, 20-14, with 1:12 left in the third period when Brody Lucero of North Bend found Scappoose’s Nate Rieman over the middle on a 62-yard scoring pass.

The third quarter ended with the West still on top at 20-14.

The East then regained the lead at 21-20 with 7:56 left in the game when Harrisburg’s Hunter Knox scored from the 1.

The West then took its final lead, 23-21, with 4:59 left in the game on a 26-yard field goal by Dayton’s Oscar Rosas.

The kick was set up by a 65-yard Lucero-to-Rieman pass.

The East then mounted its winning drive from its own 20, culminating in the Jones-to-Cochran game-winning touchdown pass.

Compared with the dramatic second half, the first two quarters were placid.

Neither team scored in the first quarter.

The West broke the drought about midway through the second quarter when Lucero connected with Salem Academy’s Skyler Williams on a 14-yard TD pass for a 7-0 West lead.

The West then increased its lead to 13-0 with 1:03 left in the half when Trevor Theissen of Banks stepped in front of a pass from Powder Valley’s Seth Dixon and raced 20 yards for an interception touchdown.

The East dominated statistically, at least on offense with a yardage advantage of 402 to 229. The East hurt its cause by committing 11 penalties for 100 yards.

Jones led the East’s passing attack with 158 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to his running touchdown. Cochran caught five passes for 133 yards. Monkus ran for 80 yards, and Knox for 71.

Lucero passed for 184 yards for the West. Rieman caught five passes for 169 yards.

The East win, its third straight, gives the East a 32-30-3 overall lead in the series which benefits the Portland Shriners Hospital for Children.

West -0 13 7 3 — 23

East - 0 0 14 15 — 29

W — Williams 14 pass from Lucero (Williams kick)

W — Theissen 20 interception return (Kick failed)

E — Monkus 39 pass from Jones (Young kick)

E — Jones 21 run (Young kick)

W — Rieman 62 pass from Lucero (Williams kick)

E — Knox 1 run (Little kick)

W — Rosas 26 FG

E — Cochran 28 pass from Jones (Cochran pass from Jones)

Individual statistics

Rushing — West: Carl 7-24, Lucero 6-13, Ferenczi 2-5, Rosas 1-4, Kirchhofer 1-1, Fremstad 4-(-12). East: Monkus 12-80, Knox 20-71, Jones 7-44, Dixon 3-19, Grogan 3-4, Martinez 1-4, Romayor 1-3, Martin 4-1.

Passing — West: Lucero 6-12-0-184, Fremstad 1-1-0-10. East: Jones 7-17-0-158, Martin 1-40-18, Dixon 0-2-1-0.

Receiving — West: Rieman 5-169, Williams 2-25. East: Cochran 5-133, Monkus 2-38, Martinez 1-5.