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July 7, 2015

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high school football:

All-star game MVP Donnel Pumphrey easily won this footrace


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Canyon Springs running back Donnel Pumphrey is lifted into the air by lineman Alonzo Pittman after a touchdown run against Valley Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 at Canyon Springs. Canyon Springs won the game 46-0.

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When Donnell Pumphrey finally made his way into the endzone Saturday during the West Charleston Lions Club 42nd Annual All-Star Football Game at Bishop Gorman’s Fertitta Field, the Canyon Springs High senior running back stopped and did the Heisman Trophy pose.

Only time will tell if Pumphrey -- the Nevada State Gatorade Player of the Year who will play in the fall at San Diego State -- wins the Heisman Trophy.

But on this scoring run, Pumphrey sure looked like a superstar. He broke numerous tackles behind the line of scrimmage and appeared to be tackled for a loss, but broke free and outraced defenders for a 63-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

The big play sparked the Sunrise Region senior all-stars to a 32-27 victory in what some feel is one of the best all-star games in recent memory. The scoring went back and forth, and every big-time player in the game seemed to make a big-time play.

“I just kept my feet moving and then I saw (an opening),” Pumphrey said. “I hit the hole and off to the races I went.”

Pumphrey earned the game’s Most Valuable Player award, Sunrise teammate Kai Nacua (BYU) of Liberty was the Defensive MVP and Sunset quarterback Anu Solomon (Arizona) of Gorman was the Offensive MVP.

On the last play of the game, Nacua intercepted a Solomon fade pass headed for Jamir Tillman (Navy) in the back of the endzone to seal the victory.

Solomon, who won four state title as the Gorman quarterback and is Nevada’s all-time leading passer, led the Sunset all-stars on a near game-winning drive. He connected mostly with Tillman, his Gorman teammate, in bringing the ball inside the 20-yard line. Twice, Solomon had good looks into the end zone, but was eventually intercepted to end the game.

Solomon finished with three touchdown passes, opening the game with a scoring strike to Shadow Ridge’s Marquise Evans of nearly 70 yards. He also connected with Tillman and Faith Lutheran’s Anthony Pryatel-Farmer for touchdowns. Quarterback Bakari Smith of Shadow Ridge, one of the top performers during the week of practice, had a 8-yard touchdown run for the other Sunset points.

The Sunrise points were scored on a short touchdown run by Nacua (he played both ways most of the night), an 80-yard scoring strike from Coronado’s Kevin Lucero to Basic’s Devonte Boyd (UNLV), and four field goals from Las Vegas High’s Jay Mattox.

Mattox, who will kick at UTEP in the fall, showed his leg strength by making a 53-yarder in the first quarter. He added kicks of 34, 35 and 40 yards.

The Sunrise team trailed 14-3 before in the first quarter before fighting back.

“It was a great game. Even at the end, I felt if they scored to win I wouldn’t be that disappointed,” Sunrise coach Rich Muraco of Liberty said. “It was a great game to be part of.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or Follow Ray on Twitter at

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  1. Was nice to see some of the best players actually play for a change. Also seeing I-A guys albeit few was good too. Seeing Nacua, Pumphrey and Mortensen in backfield was dope, we do have talent in the valley. I'd surprise Myloe didn't do better than he did. Pumphrey certainly stood out the most and was even faster than Liberty's Mitchell. Looked like Sanchez with 4 QB's on his roster and letting them all get some time did a better job letting everyone play while Sunrise appeared to actually try to win the whole game. Nice to see east side Vegas schools come out on top.

    Lowlight was Basic's Mike Roberts join the Samoan dancers and the announcer for the game who called Jamir Tillman- Jamie, messed up every other name and on a handful of occasions didn't know which team was which. I appreciate the charity game but maybe next time at least have an announcer who knows the difference with Sunrise/Sunset teams and doesn't have a voice better suited for funerals.

    Was nice to see all those players play one more time, hopefully they raised some money for the Lions too.

  2. Wish more than two were going to UNLV. We need more support from both sides. Unlv and the local high schools. Let get it together and put UNLV on the map with local kids.