From 2002 to Today
Before this college football all-star game was named the Las Vegas All-American Classic, it was known as the Paradise Bowl and played in St. George, Utah on the Saturday before the Super Bowls in 2002 and 2003.
Darry Alton, a former collegiate football player and event promoter, founded the college football all-star game in 2002 after the long-running Blue-Gray Game was temporarily called off.
To follow are recaps of both games:
2002 – Inaugural Paradise Bowl Game
West 33, Utah-Colorado 30 (2 OT)
The Inaugural Paradise Bowl made a big first impression on the players, fans in the stadium and watching on Fox Sports Net. With the game tied 30-30 at the end of regulation, the West All-Stars kicked a field goal in double-overtime to beat the Utah-Colorado All-Stars.
2003 – 2nd Annual Paradise Bowl GameMidWest 36, West 31
Toledo’s Brian Jones passed for 192 yards and three touchdowns and the Mid-West All-Stars knocked away a pass in the end zone as time expired in a 36-31 victory over the West All-stars in the second annual Paradise Bowl.
Jones was 12-for-18 including a blistering 6-for-8 on the game-winning drive capped by a 39-yard TD pass to Kentucky’s Aaron Boone, a Fillmore, Utah, native.
The West, which scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to take a brief lead, had one final chance, but Utah State’s Jose Fuentes couldn’t complete one more pass on the final play. Fuentes was 24-of-46 for 324 yards in the game at Hansen Field in St. George.
1-17-2004 – 3rd Annual LVAAC West 14, East 7
West Defensive Player of the game – Roderick Green (Central Missouri State) had 4 tackles, including 2 for losses of 15 yards – one of which was an 11-yard quarterback sack in the 1st quarter.
Aaron McConnell (Pittsburch State) had 2 tackles, both for losses totaling 14 yards including a 12-yard sack on the East squads’ second play from scrimmage.
Andre Raymond (Eastern) rushed a team-high 8 times for 28 yards.
1st 12:38 WEST – THOMAS, Sloan 45 yd pass from FIFE, Jason (DUNNING, Drew kick), 5-61 2:22, EAST 0 – WEST 7
4th 14:56 WEST – SCHURMAN, Natha 1yd pass from FIFE, Jason (Dunning, Drew kick), 14-74 7:56, EAST 0 – WEST 14
4th 06:55 EAST – HOSACK, Aaron 12 yd pass from KENT, Robert (CLARK, Jonathan kick), 8-71 2:53, EAST 7 – WEST 14
1-22-2005 – 4th Annual LVAAC West 21, East 16
After a slow 1st quarter with no scoring, the game began to showcase some big plays. BYU conerback Brandon Heaney intercepted two passes, returning the second for a 24-yard touchdown late in teh 4th quarter. Air Force running back Darnell Stephens ran for 2 touchdowns and New Mexico CB Brandon Payne intercepted a pass to setup a go ahead touchdown.
Georgia Southern RB Chaz Williams had a big play in the 3rd quarter, with a 17-yeard touchdown for the East and Arkansas RB Decori Birmingham had a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:03 minutes left in teh game, but it wasn’t enough, the West prevailed in an exciting game.
East Team MVP’s – RB Decori Birmingham of Arkansas rushed 489 yds & 3 TD’s
CB Eugune Childs of WEstern Michigan
West Team MVP’s – RB Darnell Stephens of Air Force
OLB Antoine Cash of Southern Miss.