The Kentucky All-Stars dominated the Border Bowl early as they cruised to a 34-16 win over the Tennessee All-Stars in a rain-soaked, high-energy affair.
Kentucky never trailed once in Saturday's showdown of high school all-stars at Sevier County High School. The Border Bowl all-time series is now tied at 5-5.
Kentucky's Kyree Hawkins (Fern Creek High School) returned the opening kickoff 74 yards for a touchdown, giving his team a 7-0 lead within the first 12 seconds of the game.
Tennessee thought it had gained some momentum back early in the first quarter when Riverdale linebacker Isaiah Stewart made what seemed like an interception, but the call was overturned due to a penalty on the defensive line. Kentucky would later score a field goal on that same drive to make the score 10-0.
Inefficiency on special teams hurt the Tennessee All-Stars, as they muffed three punt attempts - two resulting in the punter being tackled by Kentucky defenders, the other an airborne snap that went into the end zone and recovered for a touchdown.
While each of Fulton's Zack Dobson and Alcoa's Coltton Wright had receptions for big gains, none stood out more than Thomas Clay of Hardin Valley Academy, who caught a 61-yard bomb from Dickson County's Jacob Murphree for a touchdown. Clay described the play as a simple go route.
"Unfortunately we didn't win, but it was still fun overall," Clay said. "I love playing with my guys."
Clay also said he savored the opportunity to play with star players from all over the area. He showed off his helmet, full of decals he collected from other players' teams.
"I'm definitely blessed to be a part of this," Clay said. "It's something I'll remember for a while."