Chubb’s leaping grab of Will Anderson’s screen pass, and his subsequent 35-yard sprint to the end zone in the third quarter, helped the Nationals beat the Americans 27-19 in the seventh-annual Cobb All-Star Senior Bowl at McEachern’s Walter Cantrell Stadium.
“I saw the (offensive) linemen backing up and the quarterback eyeing his spot,” Chubb said of the game-turning play.
When Lassiter’s Anderson let go of the ball, Chubb jumped straight up, snagged it like an NBA center and headed to the end zone like an NFL fullback. He only had one man to beat, but that wasn’t the biggest concern in his mind.
“My legs were getting a little tight,” he said. “I just wanted to make it to the end zone.”
For Nationals coach Harris Rainbow, it was one time he was more than happy to cheer for a player from Hillgrove.
“I have never been so happy to have that kid on my team,” said Rainbow, who, as Campbell’s coach, had to game-plan against Chubb twice over the last two years. “It was a freakish play by a freakish athlete.”
What made Chubb’s interception even bigger was, only two plays earlier, Anderson looked like he was about to give the Americans the lead.
Anderson hit Lassiter teammate Quincy Perdue in stride and in the end zone. A touchdown would have put the Americans up 19-14, but Perdue couldn’t hold onto the ball.
“Momentum plays are a big part of the game,” said Whitefield Academy coach Jimmy Fields, who led the Americans. “That was disappointing. Unfortunately, we missed that one, and then momentum really swung in their favor.”
The Nationals put the game out of reach on their next drive. Following a fumble recovery in Americans territory, Walton’s Price Wilson needed only one play to connect with Hillgrove’s Emanuel Beal for a 40-yard touchdown pass to put the Nationals up 27-13.
Wilson and Beal were the offensive standouts for the Nationals. The Louisiana Tech-bound Wilson finished the game 7-of-9 for 138 yards, and Beal caught three passes for 90 yards.
The Americans pulled within 27-19 in the closing moments of the third quarter when Whitefield quarterback Everett Pollard, who was 7-of-9 for 112 yards on the day, connected with McEachern’s Trey Scott on a 54-yard touchdown pass.
But neither team scored again in the final 15 minutes.
Kell’s Julian Burris got the scoring started when he returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown to give the Nationals a 7-0 lead after the first quarter.
Campbell’s Mike Rogers made it 14-0 when he capped an eight-play, 84-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. The scoring drive was set up by a 15-yard pass from Campbell’s Ricky James to Kennesaw Mountain’s Dennis Bell, and a 42-yarder from James to Beal.
The Americans finally got on the board late in the first half when Pebblebrook’s Dez Huntley scored on a 2-yard plunge. He set up the touchdown by connecting on a 38-yard pass to Perdue.
Trailing 14-7 starting the third quarter, Wheeler’s Nate McCrary got the Americans back in the game when he stepped in front of a Wilson pass and returned it 70 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked, and the Nationals kept the lead at 14-13.