The biggest surprise in Saturday's CHaD East-West All-Star Game? It had to be how well each defense performed in the West's 13-7 overtime victory.The defenses were so dominant that University of New Hampshire-bound Ricky Holt - a defensive player from the losing team - received the Bo Dickson MVP Award. Holt, a defensive tackle who played at Portsmouth High School, made 8½ tackles, including a sack. He also blocked a field goal attempt as time expired.
"I knew (UNH coach) Sean McDonnell was here and I wanted to leave it out on the field to the best of my ability, and I think I did that," Holt said. "Thankfully he let me play in this."
The East completed 2 of its 5 pass attempts for 26 yards. The West recorded two sacks.
The West averaged 2.7 yards in 42 rushing attempts, and was held to 97 yards passing. The East had four sacks.
Nashua North linebacker/defensive end Deric Wagner recorded a game-high 10 tackles. The West received 9½ tackles from Bedford linebacker David Cannone and 7½ from Stevens linebacker C.J. Gosselin.
"We were a little undersized, but the kids really stuck in there on defense," West coach Jim Schubert said. "No. 71 (Holt) was by far the best player on the field. We couldn't handle him. He disrupted our three-step drop and our five-step drop so we had to start sprinting out in the third quarter.
"When you only have 10 days (to prepare) defense is always going to dominate. If you can look at film of a defense then that's different."
Two veteran high school and college coaches ran the defenses Saturday. Ken Sciacca was the East's defensive coordinator, and Paul Lavigne ran the West defense.
Sciacca, who ran a 40 defense, has coached at Salem, Trinity of Manchester, Manchester Memorial, Kennett and Haverhill, Mass. He also served as the defensive coordinator at UMass-Lowell.
Lavigne, who ran a 50 defense, coached at Stevens of Claremont, Milford, Manchester West, Manchester Memorial and Inter-Lakes of Meredith. He also coached at St. Anselm and Plymouth State.
"Two outstanding defensive coordinators - Paul Lavigne on their side, Kenny Sciacca on our side," East coach Bob Camirand said. "They had outstanding receivers and big-play capability."Each team punted six times.
"It was definitely a defensive game," West running back Connor Benjamin said. "Holt tackled me quite a bit today. He was all over. He played a great game. He's an outstanding player."
Entering the game Exeter's Logan Laurent seemed to give the East an edge in the kicking game, but Souhegan of Amherst's Tyler Ford was one of the West's unsung heroes because of his punting.
Ford punted six times for an average of 47.3 yards. He had one kick travel 74 yards, most of it in the air.
"In pregame my punts were OK, but they weren't going that far," Ford said. "Then when the game started the adrenaline kicked in and I started feeling it."
Laurent, who will kick at the University of Massachusetts, put one of his two kickoffs out of the end zone, but missed a 35-yard field goal. Laurent had a 35.7-yard average on six punt.
The West averaged 3.6 yards per play. The East averaged 3.5. ... According to CHaD officials, the game raised $301,500, which included $48,000 in in-kind donations (uniforms, food, etc.). ... This year's attendance was 1,591. A crowd of 1,202 attended last year's inaugural game.