As Boyd Anderson defensive back Daniel Wright took his position in the secondary, the practice play started.
As the flow of action went to his side, there was a voice coming from the back of the field, shouting out instructions.
“Hey, No. 10, you were not in position to make that play,” the voice boomed.
That voice was none other than “Mr. Primetime” himself – Deion Sanders.
For nearly four days last week – and into the weekend – that was the scene that repeated itself a number of times during practice sessions for the 2017 Under Armour All-American Game, played at Camping World Stadium on Sunday where Team Armour held on for a 24-21 win over Team Highlight.
Wright was one of several South Florida area prospects invited to the game to have that chance of a lifetime, working with Sanders, Charlie Ward, Ernie Sims, Bob Golic, Steve Mariucci, Herm Edwards and so many others at this annual showcase of the nation’s elite football talent.
As fans and other coaches came out to watch the daily practices that attracted Miami-Dade and Broward prospects such as Miami Central offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson, Christopher Columbus defensive back Chris Henderson and one of the nation’s top prospects in Deerfield Beach receiver Jerry Jeudy, they were also treated to some of high school football’s finest.
The Disney Wide World of Sports once again was the perfect venue for this impressive showcase, which was appreciated by all the athletes.
“What else can you say when you come out every day and know that you are going to be going against the best players in the country,” Donaldson said. “This was something you will always remember.”
It was also a chance for local high school coaches to get involved. That’s why Miami Central’s Roland Smith, Roger Harriot (St. Thomas Aquinas), Jevon Glenn (Deerfield Beach) and Chris Merritt (Christopher Columbus) were taking part for the second time.
“Everything is first class all the way,” Merritt said. “I was here a few years back, so I can tell you that it keeps getting better and better – and the talent level is crazy.”
Also, South Florida quarterback “guru” Ken Mastrole (Mastrole Passing Academy) was one of the quarterback coaches who had the opportunity to work with the prospects in the game. He came away totally impressed with the entire week.
“It was really an honor to be chosen to be a part of the experience,” Mastrole explained. “First class from start to finish.”
Chosen for the game but not taking part include Flanagan defensive back Stanford Samuels III, Miami Gulliver Prep running back Robert Burns, Plantation American Heritage offensive lineman Kai-Leon Herbert and St. Thomas Aquinas receiver Trevon Grimes.
Other Floridians in the game included A.J. Davis (RB, Lakeland), Cyrus Fagan (DB, Daytona Beach Mainland), Grant Glennon (LS, Tallahassee Lincoln), DaQuon Greene (WR, Tampa Bay Tech), Alex Leatherwood (OL, Pensacola Washington) and James Robinson (WR, Lakeland).
Team Highlight took a 7-0 lead with 9:56 left in the first quarter on a 21-yard run by Florida State commit Khalan Laborn (Virgina Beach Bishop Sullivan), capping a 7-play, 85-yard drive.
Team Armour tied things up at 7-7 on a Todd Sibley (Akron, Ohio Archbishop Hoban) 4-yard run with 6:40 left in the opening quarter. The Pittsburgh commit capped off a 6-play, 40-yard drive.
When Auburn commit Anders Carlson (Colorado Springs The Classical Academy) connected on a 36-yard field goal with 9:03 left in the first half, it capped off a 15-play, 61-yard drive and gave Team Highlight a 10-7 advantage.
With 2:03 before the half, Team Armour regained the lead, 14-10, on a 44-yard scoring strike from LSU commit Myles Brennan (Long Beach Mississippi Saint Stanislaus) to Jeff Thomas (East St. Louis). The score capped a 6-play 79-yard drive.
The first half came to an end as Andrew Mevis (Warsaw, Indiana) connected on a 46-yard field goal and extended the Team Armour lead to 17-10.
Thomas caught his second touchdown pass of the game (an Under Armour Game record) with 11:03 left in the third quarter on a 79-yard pass from Notre Dame commitment Avery Davis (Cedar Hill, Texas) and a 24-10 lead for Team Armour, capping a 3-play, 91-yard drive.
When Carlson booted his second field goal of the game, from 39-yards out, Team Highlight cut the lead to 24-13 with 4:28 left in the third quarter. That field goal ended a 12-play, 68-yard drive.
Team Highlight once again cut into the lead with 9:46 left when Georgia commit Toniel Carter (Houston Langham Creek) took it in from the 5. The two-point conversion from Texas A&M commit Kellen Mond (IMG) to Notre Dame commit Brock Wright (Cy Fair, Texas) made it 24-21.