Mildred kicker Devin O'Sullivan kicked three extra points, Hubbard's Jordan Johnson made a half-dozen tackles and Corsicana's Tiano McDonald played on both sides of the ball Saturday night in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Victory Bowl at Waco ISD Stadium, where the Blue team defeated the Red team 21-16 in a game that saw seven Golden Circle players take the field.
Of course, O'Sullivan set the state career record for kicking extra points with 265 in his four-year career at Mildred so kicking three more was a piece of cake.
“That's 268,'' said O'Sullivan, who also buried three kickoffs in the end zone. “I know they don't count toward the record, but I'm counting them. They mean something to me.''
The game, the week and the camaraderie meant something to every kid from Central Texas who played in the game.
“The theme of the week was, 'All in for Christ,'” said McDonald, a two-time Golden Circle and all-district 16-4A player who started at defensive end and tight end for the Tigers. “That was great, and for me this week meant strangers coming together. That was the theme for me. I've never seen strangers come together like this.
“It was a beautiful thing. The whole experience has just been great. Everybody from opening day on Wednesday was great. The energy was up from the start. Everybody was up. We really came together. I've never seen anything like it.''
McDonald, surrounded by his new teammates, was holding his helmet and and shaking it toward the sky at the end of the game, shouting, “Blue! Blue! Blue!”
He started and played defensive end and ? on a big play in the second quarter ? McDonald moved to fullback. The Blue team faced a fourth-and-three at the Red 48, and Waco Robinson and Blue team Coach Tommy Allison went for it.
“Robinson doesn't play a tight end,'' McDonald said. “But Coach Allison came up to me this week and said, 'Where is that big country boy from Corsicana? I've got a play for you. It's called Jumbo.' Then he told me about the play.''
McDonald was the lead blocker for Lorena's Harris Coleman, who ran behind McDonald on the quarterback keeper for a first down at the Red 44.
“That play worked every time in practice, and it worked in the game,'' McDonald said with a smile.''
No one from the Golden Circle scored except O'Sullivan, who had a big game as the Blue team kicker, and might have had a chance for a field goal in the fourth quarter when the Blue team faced a fourth-and-long at the Red 30. It would have been a 47-yard field goal attempt, and O'Sullivan said that was in his range, but the Blue team went for it and was sacked on the play.
It didn't matter to O'Sullivan.
“It was a great week, just meeting all the new people,'' O'Sullivan said. “We didn't know each other when we got here, but everyone became friends – even the guys on the other team. Everybody made friends. That was the best part, remembering all the new friends ? that and winning the game.''
The week was special for Blooming Grove's Jose Camarillo, an undersized defensive lineman who plays with more heart than size. His former BG coach Gary Grubbs always talked about how Camarillo played with more heart than anyone in the Golden Circle.
That didn't change Saturday. Camarillo, who started for the Blue team, was in on some tackles and went hard on every play ? full speed is the only way he knows how to play the game.
“It means a lot just being here,'' he said at the end of the game, his jersey soaked in perspiration. “Just playing one more high school game means a lot to me. This is my last football game. I will remember it for the rest of my life.''
Camarillo, like every kid, was touched by the week and the FCA's message.
“The game was great, but the football was the extra part,” Camarillo said. “The real point is learning about God. This week was awesome. It's something I'll never forget.''
Rice's Justin Smith was moved and was emotional after the game, talking about the week.
“This week really questioned my Christianity,'' Smith said. “On Friday night, I rededicated myself. This week drew me much closer to the Lord. This is the best week I've ever had. I loved it. I wouldn't trade it for anything.''
Smith, who had a solid game on the defensive line for the Blue team, said he will never forget the community service project the players did.
“We all went to (South Waco) to help the kids there,'' he said. “It was the best, just letting them know they have role models and that God is there for them. That was awesome being able to do that.''
Wortham offensive lineman Angus Worcester made several good blocks for the Red team, and came away humbled by the experience.
“It's an honor to be here,'' he said. “The best part of the week was the pep rally on Friday when they had speakers come in and we had an alter call. It's a week I'll never forget.''
Johnson, who had a monster game on defense for the Red team, played in every quarter, including being on special teams.
“It was really fun tonight,'' he said after the game. “And the whole week was great, getting to know everybody. I think the best part was our community service project when we went and helped the kids.''
For Dawson's Dalton Long, it was a quick switch from the diamond to the gridiron. Long, an All-Golden Circle left fielder, was a team leader for the Bulldogs baseball team that just went to the Class 1A state tournament in Round Rock.
Playing baseball helped keep me in shape for this game,'' said Long, who played running back for the Red team. “The week was great. The theme was 'All in for Christ,' and everyone came together. It was a great experience.''
Then he paused.
“It's my last game,'' he said, looking toward the ground. “It's bittersweet.''