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  • Tyler Harden

Team Icons hangs on to defeat Team Legends 23-17 in the 2022 Under Armour All-American Game

Photo Credit: @uanextfootball

ORLANDO, FLORIDA— Every year, the Under Armour All-American Game features some of the best high school football players in the country, which will become the future stars of college football, and possibly the NFL. Last year, due to COVID-19, the game was cancelled. This year, however, the game was ready to come back, and the players were ready to showcase their talents on national television once again.

This year’s game had an abundance of notable players. Team Icons were led by wide receiver, cornerback, and number-1 player in the country, Travis Hunter, who is from Collins Hill High School in Georgia, and is signed with Deion Sanders and Jackson State University. Team Legends was led by the number-1 defensive tackle in the country, Walter Nolen, who is from Powell High School in Tennessee, and is signed with Texas A&M. In a game that is designed for these star playmakers to make big plays, they did exactly that, and we now know that the future of college football is bright.

The dynamic playmakers did not waste time to showcase their skills. In the first play of the game, quarterback, AJ Duffy, found wide receiver and Missouri signee, Luther Burden, and Burden took the pass to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown to give Team Icons and early 7-0 lead (PAT good). After Team Legends punted on their first possession, running back, Kaytron Allen led Team Icons down the field all the way to the Legends’ 15-yard line. Allen, who is signed with Penn State, then ran for a first down to the 5-yard line, and capped off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown to give Team Icons a two score lead to end the first quarter.

Team Icons forced another punt from Team Legends, and Icons’ quarterback, Conner Weigman, connected with his future Texas A&M teammate, Chris Marshall, twice to bring Icons to the Legends’ 27-yard line. But a fumble by Team Icons on 2nd and goal gave Team Legends the ball back at their own 5-yard line.

The Icons’ defense got the ball right back, however, as Clemson cornerback signee, Jeadyn Lukus, made an outstanding interception catch in the air to give the offense the ball at the Legends’ 25-yard line. Conner Weigman brought Team Icons to the 14-yard line with a pass to Luther Burden, but they couldn’t get any further than that. Kicker, Grady Gross, kicked a 30-yard field goal to extend Team Icons’ lead to 17-0.

Quarterback, AJ Swann, who is signed with Vanderbilt, got Team Legends going. After Swann found wide receiver and Clemson signee, Antonio Williams for a pass to the Icons’ 10-yard line, he found tight end and Texas A&M signee, Donovan Green, for a 10-yard touchdown to put Team Legends on the board (PAT good). But Team Icons’ quarterback, Holden Geriner, who is signed with Auburn, kept their offense rolling. He found Texas Tech signee, Maurion Horn, at the Legends’ 45-yard line, and he found Chris Marshall at the 19-yard line. Team Legends’ defense continued to contain Team Icons’ in the red zone, however, and forced Grady Gross to kick a 48-yard field goal. The attempt was good, and Team Icons went into halftime with a 20-7 lead.

Team Legends was brought to 4th down and 3 after quarterback and Utah signee, Nate Johnson ran for a 1st down to their own 45-yard line. However, a fumble by Team Legends was recovered by Travis Hunter, and gave Team Icons the ball at the Legends 35-yard line. The Legends’ defense continued to contain Team Icons though, and forced Grady Gross to kick a 35-yard field goal, and he gave Team Icons a 23-7 lead.

Team Icons’ defense showed up in the second half as well. After Legends’ quarterback, Steve Angeli, who is signed with Notre Dame, connected with wide receiver, Jordan Hudson, who is signed with TCU, for a 1st down to the Icons’ 28-yard line, they were brought to 4th down and 16. Legends’ kicker, Alex McPherson, who is signed with Auburn, kicked a 42-yard field goal to make the score 23-10. Team Legends’ defense then found some momentum headed into the final quarter, as cornerback and USC signee, Zion Branch, intercepted a pass from AJ Duffy, and gave Team Legends the ball at Team Icons’ 40-yard line.

Steve Angeli found wide receiver and Alabama signee, Aaron Anderson, for a first down to the Icons’ 1-yard line. Running back, Jovantae Barnes, did the rest with a 1-yard touchdown to bring Team Legends within one score at 23-17 (PAT good). Team Legends forced a punt from Team Icons, and running back and Alabama signee, Emmanuel Henderson, converted on 2nd down and 2 to their own 43-yard line. But Team Icons’ forced them to punt on 4th and 8. After Team Legends forced a 4th down and 8 for Team Icons, Grady Gross attempted a 44-yard field goal, but missed.

This drive was important for Team Legends to tie the game, and potentially take the lead. On 2nd down and 4, AJ Swann ran the ball himself for a 1st down to their own 31-yard line, and he found George Pettaway, who is signed with North Carolina, for a 30-yard gain and a first down to Team Icons’ 37-yard line. Team Icons forced a 4th down and 13 for Team Legends, and Team Legends went for it. But Swann’s pass was incomplete, and Team Icons’ run-game, led by Kaytron Allen and Branson Robinson, who is signed with Georgia, worked to run out the clock. When the clocks hit zero, Team Icons hung on to secure a 23-17 in the 2022 Under Armour All-American Game.

As this game is the last high school football game for the majority, if not all, of the players in the game, some players decide to add an extra memory by making their college decision live at the game on national television. Three players were set to make their college commitments in this year’s game. Before the game started, 4-star running back, Jovantae Barnes, who is from Las Vegas, Nevada, announced his commitment to Oklahoma over USC, Florida State, and more. At halftime, 4-star defensive end, Omari Abor, who is from Duncanville, Texas, announced his commitment to Ohio State over Texas A&M, Alabama, and more. The final announcement was from 5-star linebacker, Harold Perkins, who is also a running back prospect. He announced he will join the number-1 ranked recruiting class at Texas A&M, and he chose the Aggies over LSU, Texas, and more. Defensive tackle and Michigan signee, Derrick Moore, out of St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded MVP of the game.

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