Staff reports

All-star games can make for strange bedfellows.

Less than two months ago, Valdosta State's C.J. Lofton was catching the winning touchdown pass against Carson-Newman to give the Blazers a win in the NCAA Division II quarterfinal playoff football game.

In Friday's Cactus Bowl Division II all-star game in Kingsville, Texas, Lofton was on the receiving end of another go-ahead touchdown -- this time from a Carson-Newman player.

Lofton caught a 16-yard pass from Thomasville's Leonard Guyton, who played for Carson-Newman, to give the East a 10-7 lead with 6:44 left. The East went on to win 19-7 over the West.

Lofton caught three passes for 31 yards.

Two other area players participated in the game. Valdosta State's Dewayne Smith had two tackles for the East, while Brooks County's Tommy Jackson, who played at Albany State, had four tackles.

Gregg Albano of Bentley recovered a fumble in the end zone with 2:17 remaining to help the East secure the victory. The West tried a reverse on a kickoff, but a fumble went into the end zone and Albano recovered.

Zach Elbert of Henderson State gave the East a 3-0 lead with a 29-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. The West responded with a 7-yard run by Josh Chapman of Missouri Southern two minutes later for a 7-3 lead.

Elbert added his second field goal, from 36 yards, to give the East a 13-7 lead.

The West's Michael Oliva of California-Davis, who had seven receptions for 128 yards, was the most valuable player on offense. East linebacker Steve Josue of Carson-Newman was the defensive MVP.

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