Recent West Stokes graduate Devan Hairston played in the NCCA East/West All-Star football game on Wednesday night alongside coach Jimmy Upchurch, Wildcat play caller for the past 14 seasons. Coach and player were selected to the all-star team after the 2016 football season.
“This has been a lot of fun this week,” said the coach. “The kids have had the experience of their life.”
The East team scored with 5:33 left in the game and came out on top 20-17 marking their third straight win over the West teams.
Upchurch, appointed defensive coordinator, served as signal caller for the defense.
“These kids are remarkable with their understanding of football,” claimed Upchurch. “It took me a total of one practice to install a defense and the kids ran it and understood every aspect of it. We may have not won on the scoreboard, but every kid out here participating in this game were winners.”
Hairston played special teams and defensive end and had one game-changing play in the first quarter with the East team threatening to score.
The ball was inside the 5-yard line on third and goal when a fumble was forced by the defense. The Wildcat player ran and scooped the ball, returning it 15-yards before being tackled.
“I just saw the ball on the ground. I really thought I had a chance to score,” he said. “This game was a lot of fun to play in. I have formed a lot of good relationships with these guys over the last week.”
The athlete finished with seven tackles and had the one fumble recovery.
Upchurch is entering his 15th year with West Stokes and has accrued a 106-71 overall winning record. His teams have won two conference championships, made 13 state playoff appearances and won a state championship in 2011. He was also named conference coach of the year twice in his time with the Wildcats.
Hairston finished his career at West Stokes as the fourth all-time leading rusher with 3,367-yards on 469 attempts (third best). He was also the third best in career touchdowns with 41. He marked his career with the WPAC Offensive Player of the Year and was all-conference his junior and senior season. He plans to play for Palmetto Preparatory Academy in Columbia, S.C. this fall with hopes of transferring to Campbell University in the spring.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.