LEXINGTON, Ky.-- On a cool summer evening at Commonwealth Stadium, it was a pair of pitch-and-catch combinations that stole the show in the twentieth edition of the Tennessee-Kentucky High School All-Star Classic.
Louisville-Male's do-everything quarterback Michael Bush, a University of Louisville signee, passed for 97 yards, rushed for 35 more, and even caught three passes for 21 more to lead the Kentucky All-Stars to a 28-14 win over the Tennessee All-Stars Friday at Commonwealth Stadium. But the MVP trophy went to Louisville-Manual receiver / defensive back Keenan Burton (Kentucky), who caught four passes for 66 yards and a touchdown, in addition to a 48-yard interception return.
On the Tennessee side, Brentwood High quarterback Austen Everson threw for two touchdowns and rushed for 40 yards to pace his team. Everson (Ohio University signee) earned MVP honors for the squad from the Volunteer State. Chattanooga-Notre Dame receiver Adarius Bowman (North Carolina) also turned in an outstanding performance with eight catches, a pair of which resulted in Tennessee's touchdowns.
Memphis-White Station's Curtis Gatewood, the only Vanderbilt signee to take part in the game, started at outside linebacker and registered a single tackle in the first quarter. Gatewood played on special teams and approximately half of the defensive snaps, as the Tennessee coaches substituted liberally.
"Overall we didn't play very well as a team," Gatewood said afterwards. "I came out a little rusty. I think maybe if we'd had another week at this, we probably would have come out a little better, because we were all a little rusty."
Gatewood said he felt the game had helped prepare him for the upcoming season with Vanderbilt.
"I see where I stand right now," he said. "I know I need to really work on my linebacker skills, and get in the weight room and get bigger. I know that next level is going to be much tougher than this, and I need to step up my game."
"Curtis had a great week," said Murfreesboro-Riverdale Coach Gary Rankin, who coached the Tennessee team. "He's a great kid. He practiced hard this week and was one of our team's leaders. He should make [Vanderbilt] a great player. He's got a great attitude and has a tremendous amount of ability."
The Kentucky All-Stars jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, but Tennessee scored with 0:43 left in the half on a 10-yard Everson-to-Bowman pass to cut the lead to 14-7.
Kentucky drove the ball 80 yards early in the third quarter to go up 20-7, but Everson drove Tennessee 91 yards and hit Bowman on a 4-yard pass on the opening play of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to six points.
Tennessee's defense stopped Kentucky on two straight drives, but the game turned when Memphis-East's Jimmy Beard (University of Memphis) fumbled a punt on the Tennessee 18, and Rockcastle County's Marty Regan (unsigned) recovered. The Kentucky stars converted the turnover into a late touchdown on a Sergio Spencer (Louisville-Male, Louisville) 8-yard run and 2-point conversion for the final margin.
For the Kentucky All-Stars, it was the second straight win in the annual series which matches the top high school players in their respective states. But Tennessee still leads the all-time series, 14 to 6.