Stone’s late touchdown clinches 34-33 win for US Under-15 Stars over Stripes
By: Brady Keane
ARLINGTON, Texas – Preston Stone punched in a 10-yard touchdown run with just under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to clinch a 34-33 victory for the U-15 Stars at International Bowl VIII at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
In a game that turned into a high-scoring affair, it was the Under-15 Stars offense that made just enough plays down the stretch to outdo the Stripes’ stout defensive unit late in the game.
Stone (Dallas, Texas) would not be denied in his hometown, leading the offense down the field late in the game. The Stars drove 72-yards in eight plays on the game-winning drive before Stone punched in the 10-yard touchdown run.
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“It was awesome,” Stone said. “Every Sunday, I watch the Cowboys play here and wish I was there running the ball into the end zone. To actually do it is just amazing.”
— U.S. National Team (@USNFT) January 17, 2017
Stone’s touchdown run was the exclamation point on a big offensive performance from the Stars that was headlined by the play of Derron McQuitty. McQuitty (Greensboro, N.C.) was named the Stars MVP after rushing for 139 yards on 22 carries, taking a lot of pressure off Stone and the rest of the offensive attack.
Mcquitty rushed for 42 yards on the Stars final drive and set up the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
“He has great vision, great patience in the backfield,” Stars coach Jason Tenner said after the game. “The coaching staff is really proud of him and the way he played today. He stepped up when we needed him most.”
Before the Stars offense got going in the fourth quarter, it looked as though the Stripes defense and special teams had done enough to come away with a win. Linebacker Hal Edmons was a monster for the Stripes defense, finishing with a game-high 9.5 tackles and one tackle for loss.
With the Stripes trailing 27-19 in the third quarter, Kenny Butler blocked a punt and returned it 30-yards for a touchdown before Tedros Gleaton connected with Cade Uehling for the 2-point conversion.
That score knotted things up at 27-27, and put the Stripes in good position to take control of the game’s momentum. The offense capitalized later in the fourth when Gleaton (Waldorf, Md.) connected with Myron Scott on a highlight reel 77-yard touchdown to give the Stripes a 33-27 lead.
The Stripes missed the extra-point however, which left the door open for the Stars late game heroics. After Stone’s touchdown, Connor Lytton connected on the extra-point to clinch the 34-33 win.
“Our kicker was the difference in the game,” Tenner said. “We’re really proud of everyone.”
Gleaton finished the game 7-for-11 for 203 yards and two touchdowns – all to Scott (Tampa, Fla.) – while Cade Uehling added 102 yards rushing on nine carries in the heartbreaking one-point loss for the Stripes.
Tenner praised the play of both teams after the game, and pointed to the bright future of football in this country.
“It means a lot to finish the week with a win,” Tenner said. “But when it comes down to Stars and Stripes, we’re all in the same family – USA Football. For it to be that competitive, it shows the talent we have coming up. That’s exciting to be a part of.”