WACO — Every fall Shoemaker and Belton are rivals on the football field, but players from the two teams united Saturday in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Victory Bowl.
Grey Wolves’ quarterback Mark Walker connected with the Tigers’ Denver Holman and Anthony Brown to help lead the Red team to a 17-14 at Waco ISD Stadium.
Holman wasn’t sure how going from rivals to teammates was going to work when he met Walker at the first Victory Bowl practice.
“At first I was like, ‘Well, I hope he doesn’t try to come at me,’” he said. “But then at practice he dabbed (knuckles with) me and I was like, ‘All right, we’re cool.’
“We started practicing a lot, caught a lot of balls with him and he’s a good quarterback. I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else.”
Walker found Holman in the back right corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown pass to tie the game with 1:50 left in the first half.
In the middle of the fourth quarter Walker found Brown in the back left corner of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown to give the Red team its first lead of the game, 14-7.
The Blue team quickly tied the score on its next possession, but with less than a minute on the clock Brown intercepted a pass from the Blue team.
That interception earned Brown the Defensive MVP and put his team within range for a 32-yard field goal at the buzzer for the victory.
“(Holman) was in before me,” Brown said of his high school teammate. “He caught a cramp so I just stepped in, next man up.
“Coach (Delbert) Kelm of Crawford, all week he was teaching us new stuff and being a great coach, and I can just say that the Red team is the best team at the end of the night and we did it.”
Holman aimed to get the Red team within scoring position from the start as starting quarterback Preston Preciado of Gatesville threw a 29-yard pass to him in the middle of the first quarter.
Academy’s Coleman Berg tried to intercept the ball on the play, but Holman held on to move the Red team to the Blue team’s 33-yard line.
The Blue team scored first as Teague quarterback Zack Satterwhite found a wide open Kadrian Hammond of Cameron Yoe for a 93-yard touchdown pass in the middle of the first quarter.
On third-and-11 from the Blue team’s 13-yard, Preciado found Holman open in the end zone but the Belton wide receiver dropped the pass.
The Red team lost the chance to score in the first quarter with a turnover on downs as Preciado was sacked on the next play.
The game remained tied 7-7 at halftime.
Although it was a Central Texas all-star game for fun, the competitive spirit was in full force as four personal fouls were handed out throughout the game — three in the first 11 seconds of the second half.
The Red team took a brief lead in the fourth quarter, but the Blue team quickly answered to tie the game 14-14 with 7:59 left.
Belton’s Jarrett Karnowski recorded a tackle, Shoemaker’s Nehemiah Brown and Harker Heights’ Dorian Black had two tackles for the Red team. Shoemakers’ Zion Carter Bryant recorded a tackle for loss.
Copperas Cove’s Jaylan Brown punted for a total of 89 yards for the Red team and had two sacks for a loss of 20 yards.
“No matter what the rivals are, that’s all over with,” Walker said. “When it comes to FCA, it’s all about brotherhood — we stick together and play as a family.”
Brown echoed the sentiment, thankful for the opportunity to end his high school career with this game.
“Everybody who fed us, shipped us around to activities — it’s just a great organization,” he said. “I just want to say thank you.”