By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
For one night, Tyson Riley and Will Boswell were teammates. Again.
Not only that, but…
“We’re still neighbors, too,” Boswell said.
The former Mt. Vernon youth players reunited Friday night in the 18th annual Grin Iron Classic at JFK Stadium in Springfield. Riley (Springfield Catholic) and Boswell (Mt. Vernon) led the East squad to a 47-29 victory.
Riley received East Offensive MVP honors with 104 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.
“We don’t live that far away from each other,” said Riley, who still lived in Mt. Vernon while attending Catholic. “We played together on the same team from like… 1st to 7th grade. So that connection’s still there.
“And it’s good not to see him lined up across from me at linebacker.”
The duo has faced off several times over the past few seasons, including last fall when Mt. Vernon defeated Catholic in the state quarterfinals.
Mt. Vernon lost to Cardinal Ritter the next week.
“We both ended our seasons with losses in the fall,” Riley said. “So we both got to rewrite the script a bit tonight, one final game in our high school careers.”
Added Boswell: “It’s a lot more fun being on the (winning) end of it.”
The East took control early behind touchdown runs from Riley and Boswell. Camdenton’s Kylan Draper, named East Defensive MVP, returned a blocked punt for a touchdown that give the East a 26-0 lead.
Parkview’s Tyrone Newburn and Jevin Huddleston led a West comeback in the third quarter. Their touchdown catches cut the East’s lead to 40-29.
Newburn, who caught three passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns, received West Offensive MVP honors.
The East’s lone third-quarter scored was a dazzling one. Jayden Morgan made a leaping 34-yard touchdown catch between two defenders on a pass from Carthage teammate Zeke Sappington.
Boswell sealed the East victory in the fourth quarter with a breakaway 51-yard touchdown run. He finished with 16 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
This year’s game, a collection of outgoing star players from the area, featured a revamped format. Before the traditional East-West geographical split, each side “drafted” five teams from the Southwest Missouri area.
The East, under coach Steve Ary, selected players from Carthage, Joplin, Camdenton, Mt. Vernon and Rolla.
The West, under Marshfield coach Cody Bull, selected Webb City, Lebanon, Neosho, Parkview and Cassville.
Friday night marked the send-off for Ary. He’s headed to Harrison (Ark.), where he’ll join the staff of former area coach Joel Wells.
Ary got to coach a decorated Zizzers senior class one last time Friday night. His son, Ian, recorded a sack on defense.
“Everything this year’s beeen a last hurrah for me, so to speak,” Steve Ary said. “I’m glad to go out like this.”
East 47, West 29
East 12 21 7 7 — 47
West 0 15 14 0 — 29
East – Boswell 6 run (kick failed)
East – Riley 16 run (pass failed)
East – Riley 17 run (Cressman kick)
East – Draper 3 fumble return (Cressman kick)
West – Hutson 51 catch from Glendenning (Burkett kick)
East – Cobb 10 catch from Riley (Cressman kick)
West – Newburn 5 catch from Glendenning (Monroe catch from Glendenning)
East – Morgan 34 catch from Sappington (Cressman kick)
West – Newburn 60 catch from Utecht (Haney catch from Utecht)
West – Huddleston 25 catch from Utecht (kick failed)
East – Boswell 51 run (Cressman kick)
Unofficial stat leaders
Passing: Riley 6-for-10, 58 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Sappington 6-for-8, 80 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: Riley 15 carries for 104 yards, 2 TDs; Boswell 16 carries for 111 yards, TDs; Morgan 4 carries for 38 yards
Receiving: Morgan 3 catches for 64 yards, 1 TD; Cobb 4 catches for 48 yards, 1 TD
Passing; Glendenning 6-for-7 for 137 yards, 2 TDs; Utecht 6-for-13 for 94 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Receiving: Newburn 3 catches for 117 yards, 2 TDs; Hutson 3 catches for 55 yards, 1 TD
West offense: Tyrone Newburn, Parkview
West defense: Tre’Von Letts, Neosho
East offense: Tyson Riley, Springfield Catholic
East defense: Kylan Draper, Camdenton