Big plays highlight White’s win

ST. PETERSBURG — Team Blur (White) used big plays on offense, special teams and defense to run away with a 49-16 win against Team Highlight (Black) in Thursday’s Under Armour All-American Game in front of an announced crowd of 24,710 at Tropicana Field.

The big-play party began with White team quarterback Jameis Winston, a Florida State pledge, hooking up with Amari Cooper on a 75-yard touchdown pass. It came on the White’s second possession and after a timeout on third down and 17. Cooper came down with a 50-50 jump ball out of man coverage for the game’s opening score.

On the Black’s second possession, Florida pledge Marcus Maye recovered a fumble on an errant handoff exchange near midfield. The White’s drive was halted by a pair of sacks by Jordan Jenkins, who is considering the Gators, among others. That resulted in a 43-yard field goal attempt by Austin Hardin, but the UF verbal commitment’s kick was wide left.

Duke commit Ross Martin then put the Black team on the board with a 32-yard field goal, but the White quickly answered with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Zach Kline to FSU pledge Marvin Bracy, who made a nice one-handed grab at the goal line on a ball thrown behind him to make it 13-3 with 8:07 remaining in the first half.

With the Black team driving, future Florida Gator Brian Poole intercepted a pass and returned it 93 yards for a touchdown. He made one guy miss and then it was off to the races down the left sideline to give the White team a 20-3 lead with 3:40 remaining in the half.

A White team drive early in the second half was stopped a yard short of the end zone. But then after a three-and-out, Maye blocked Martin’s punt in the end zone for a safety to up the White lead to 22-3.

Winston hit Shaq Roland for touchdown to increase the lead 29-3, but it didn’t last long as Miami pledge Duke Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards to set up a touchdown pass from Chad Kelley to USC commit Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick to cut the lead to 29-10 midway through the third quarter.

However, that was as close as it would get as the White tacked on an interception return for a touchdown by Cyrus Jones and a 92-yard kick return by Cooper, who was sprung free by a nice block by Poole. Jones later committed to Alabama during the broadcast on ESPN.