North enjoys a near-perfect night
Not a lot went wrong for the North squad in its 24-7 victory over the South in the 30th Lezzer Lumber Football Classic Friday night at Mansion Park.
On the other hand, not a lot went right for the South.
Penns Valley’s Cameron Tobias earned the North team’s Offensive Most Valuable Player award by completing six of 10 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
Clarion High School’s Cody Hearst, who made three catches in the game for 105 yards, caught a 13-yard Tobias touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Clarion’s Damien Silke caught a 14-yard touchdown strike from Tobias late in the first quarter to open the game’s scoring, and also ran 1 yard up the middle for a second-quarter touchdown for the North, which racked up 355 yards in total offense while building a 24-0 lead.
The South squad committed seven turnovers, five on interceptions. North safety Tyler Stratton of Clearfield High School made three picks en route to earning his team’s Defensive Most Valuable Player award.
“They did a good job, and we just didn’t execute well offensively,” said Mifflin County High School coach George Miskinis, who coached the South squad. “Our offensive mistakes gave them good field position and a short field tonight.”
An interception by Trevor Schwiderske of DuBois set up the North’s first score of the night. The South marched 72 yards in six plays, with Tobias’ 37-yard pass down the seam to Bald Eagle Area’s Bryce Greene the biggest. Tobias followed that completion three plays later with his 14-yard touchdown pass to Silke, who floated out of the backfield on to the left flat and found himself wide open.
“It was definitely a different offense than what I’ve been used to, but once I got the hang of it, I was able to do what needed to get done,” Tobias said. “Our line blocked well, our receivers ran sharp routes, and I was able to do what I do best.”
A 59-yard burst down the right side by Bald Eagle Area’s Dakota Bartley early in the second quarter set up Silke’s 1-yard touchdown smash as the North team took a 14-0 lead.
“I expected a high-scoring shootout tonight,” Bartley said. “This was definitely not the final score that I expected in an all-star game.”
Stratton’s second of three interceptions helped the North build a 21-0 lead at intermission. Tobias found Hearst on a 25-yard pass completion, and a roughing-the-passer penalty on the play gave the North a first down at the South 13. Tobias then connected with Hearst on a 13-yard scoring pass with just 35 seconds left before halftime.
“This was a fun game,” Stratton said about his three interceptions. “I kept looking into the quarterbacks’ eyes all night, and I was in the right place at the right time.”
A rough night for the South squad was punctuated when Central’s Austin Cunningham sustained a leg injury after being tackled on an option run early in the first quarter. Cunningham left the game and did not return, spending the remainder of the night on the sidelines with his leg elevated.
Another Clarion High School player, Antonio Troese, figured in the North team’s scoring with a 32-yard third-quarter field goal that made it a 24-0 game.
Friday was a special night for Clarion High School football coach Larry Wiser, who directed the North squad.
“I’m so pleased,” Wiser said. “From the very beginning of the week, these kids came in here and put in a solid week of practice. They were ready to go tonight.”
Central’s Bradi Moore, who caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Williamsburg’s Austin McMonagle with 5:52 left in the game to account for the South team’s only scoring, picked up on a difference in intensity between the South and North squads Friday.
“Their team came out fired up and ready to play, and we didn’t really get it done today,” said Moore, who was named the South squad’s Offensive MVP. “They were playing at a different speed than we were.”
Nonetheless, playing in the game was still a special experience for Moore.
“It’s an awesome privilege to be a part of this team,” Moore said. “This is the best of the best. I enjoyed it.”
Mifflin County’s JM Maclay, who intercepted a pass in the end zone and made several tackles, was named the South’s Defensive MVP.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
North7 14 3 0 – 24
South0 0 0 7 – 7
N-Slike 14 pass from Tobias (Troese kick), 3:23.
N-Slike 1 run (Troese kick), 8:27.
N-Hearst 13 pass from Tobias (Troese kick), :35
N-Troese 32 FG, 6:55.
S-Moore 4 pass from McMonagle (Reighard kick), 5:52.
RUSHING: North-Bartley 7-94, Slike 8-36, Tibbens 8-25, Hearst 1-15, Irwin 8-0, Katis 2-(-6), Smeal 2-0. South-McMonagle 9-37, Moore 9-28, J. Claar 3-11, Taylor 4-(-13), Kahley 1-1, Cunningham 2-(-3), Team 1-(-30).
PASSING: North-Tobias 6-10-1-109, Katis 2-5-0-70, Irwin 1-4-0-12. South-Taylor 4-11-2-53, McMonagle 4-9-3-36.
RECEIVING: North-Hearst 3-105, Weaver 2-16, Bryce Greene 1-37, Slike 1-14, Bartley 1-12, Smeal 1-7. South-Baker 4-40, Heffner 1-32, Dale 1-7, J. Claar 1-6, Moore 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS: North-Stratton 3, Bryan Greene, Schwiderske. South-Maclay.