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Sitting on the shoulders of Team West captain Nick Dragon, CHaD patient Harris Jones, 6, of Milford, gets a fist bump from Team East captain Jerickson Fedrick, of Salem, prior to the inaugural CHaD East-West High School Football All Star Game Saturday afternoon at Cowell Stadium in Durham. (JOSH GIBNEY / UNION LEADER)

Coach's son inspires winning West team

DURHAM — Keith Jones has often said his 6-year-old son would be an amputee if not for Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD).

So, picture this: Harris Jones — on his own legs — walking to the 50-yard line Saturday at the University of New Hampshire's Cowell Stadium.

Injured in a snowmobile accident three years ago, Harris conducted the ceremonial coin toss for Saturday's inaugural New Hampshire East-West High School Football All-Star Game, an event co-sponsored by the Union Leader.

Talking about Harris and the 37 surgeries he has undergone since January 2009 forced Keith, the West all-stars coach, to choke up after a convincing 44-12 win.

&#';Unbelievable,&#'; Keith said while holding his second son, Jamieson, born in January. &#';I'll start crying.&#';

Keith brought Harris into Team West's locker room before the game. The coach's message: &#';Remember what you're playing for,&#'; he said.

The head coach at Milford High downplayed the role his son's pre-game appearance played in the matchup's lopsided outcome.

But, he said, &#';it made a difference.&#';

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Fundraising totals were announced at the game's conclusion.

A whopping $301,000 — including $58,000 of in-kind donations — was raised for CHaD and Kristen's Gift fund for pediatric oncology.

&#';It's a great foundation for the future. We're all winners. We're all fighting for the same cause,&#'; said Nick Vailas, the game's founder. &#';Raising $301,000, it's pretty remarkable in this economy. We want to build from here, though.&#';

If there was one shortcoming, Vailas said, it was the game's lack of competitiveness. But, he quickly added, &#';it was still a great venue.&#';

&#';Regardless of the outcome, we raised a ton of money for the kids. And we had a blast the past (10) days,&#'; East coach Bill Raycraft said. &#';We'll take that.&#';

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The game's most exciting play was the 50-yard touchdown reception by West all-star and Manchester Central receiver Thaddeus &#';Junior&#'; Brown.

Would you believe it resulted from an audible?

Brown said East's cornerback was playing press coverage, within 2 yards from the line of scrimmage.

&#';(Manchester Memorial quarterback) Cody Dalton just looked at me, gave me the (eye) signal&#'; said the 6-foot 3-inch, 180-pound wideout, who raced down the right seam.

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Two all-stars did not play due to injury.

East's Mike Estes, a two-way lineman from Somersworth, sustained a concussion during practice. West's Shannon Tucker, a running back and linebacker from Newfound of Bristol, suffered a knee injury.

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