Defense sparks North
Even in midsummer all-star football games, turnovers and penalties can be crucial and the defense often sets the pace of the game.
That was the case in the 33rd annual Lezzer Lumber Classic Friday night at Mansion Park, as the North squad made two interceptions that paved the way for both its touchdowns and defeated the South squad, 17-7.
“The defenses are usually ahead of the offenses when teams have a short time to prepare, but I thought it was a great game,” said Williamsburg coach Bob Hearn, who served as the South’s head coach for the game. “I thought the kids played well.”
Bellefonte defensive back Gavin Danneker played center field and picked off a pass by Hollidaysburg’s Jarrett Cavalet, setting up a 1-yard second-quarter touchdown run by Braden Paulinellie of DuBois, who scored both of the North’s touchdowns and was named the team’s offensive Most Valuable Player for the game.
With the game tied, 7-7 in the third quarter, State College’s Aziz Salamy picked off a halfback option pass by the South’s Aden McMonagle of Williamsburg, setting up Paulinellie’s 7-yard touchdown burst with 49 seconds left in the third period that put the North ahead to stay, 14-7.
“I saw the ball coming toward me,” said Salamy, who returned the ball to the South 43. “It was a floater, and it was my first pick ever. I just took it and ran. I did what came naturally.”
The only other scoring in the game for the North was a 26-yard field goal by Brockway’s Jarrett Esposito with only 1:36 remaining in the contest that sealed the outcome.
That ended a concerted, well-assembled offensive drive in which the North carried the ball from its own 25 to the South 9 in eight plays before the kick was made.
Clearfield’s Seth Caldwell led the North rushing attack with 58 yards on 13 carries, Paulinellie picked up 57 yards on 17 carries, and Central Mountain’s Justin Neff gained 41 yards on 10 rushing attempts.
“I thought that Caldwell and Paulinellie ran the ball very hard, and Neff did well on jet sweeps tonight,” said Clearfield coach Tim Janocko, who served as head coach of the North team.
Cavalet shined running the option at quarterback for the South team. After having a 65-yard first-quarter touchdown run wiped out by a block-in-the-back penalty in the first quarter, Cavalet ran 57 yards through the middle of the field on an option play for a third-quarter touchdown that tied the game, 7-7.
Cavalet — who was named the South team’s offensive MVP — said that the South squad was spurred on by the halftime emotion of Jacob Lindner, an Altoona lineman who was playing his last game on the Mansion Park turf.
“At halftime, Jake got us all excited, saying that he didn’t want to lose the last game he played on his home field,” Cavalet said.
Lindner also threw a nice seal block to spring Cavalet for the third-quarter touchdown run.
“It took awhile to develop, but Jake (took out) the (North) safety and made a good hole for me,” Cavalet said.
But it was a night in which the South could muster no scoring other than the lone touchdown run.
“Our defense did a great job,” Janocko said. “It’s hard to practice against that read option, and the kid from Hollidaysburg (Cavalet) runs it very well.”
Hearn appreciated the opportunity to coach the South squad all week.
“This group was a great group,” Hearn said. “They worked real hard, they got along with each other, and they were a pleasure to coach. It was a lot of fun.”
Game notes: The South leads the all-time series, which began in 1985, by a slim 17-16 games margin … Along with Cavalet and Paulinellie, MVP awards for defense were earned by the South’s Kyle Dodson of Central, who intercepted a pass, and North linebacker Peyton Edwards of State College. The awards were voted upon by the media covering the game … Twelve players earned $500 scholarship awards. They included Altoona’s Lindner, Bishop Guilfoyle’s Logan McGeary and Mark Fanelli, Central’s Cam Norris and Jacob Muthler, Glendale’s Matt Yeckley, and Claysburg-Kimmel’s Reid Walter from the South squad, and Moshannon Valley’s Alan Wonderling from the North team … Hollidaysburg’s Cory Storm averaged 41 yards on five punts for the South squad … Honorary captain for the South team was former Bellwood-Antis and Lycoming College standout Josh Kleinfelter, who is now a Pennsylvania state policeman stationed in Huntingdon. The North’s honorary captain was Janocko’s son, Andrew, a former Clearfield standout who went on to play collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh and is now an assistant offensive line/tight ends coach with the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
North 0 7 7 3 — 17
South 0 0 7 0 — 7
N–Paulinellie 1 run (Esposito kick), 9:06.
S–Cavalet 57 run (Muthler kick), 10:21.
N–Paulinellie 7 run (Esposito kick), :49.
N–Esposito 26 FG, 1:36.
RUSHING: North–Caldwell 13-58, Paulinellie 17-57, Neff 10-41, Miller 3-4, Snyder 4-2. South–Cavalet 14-66, Brunner 6-27, Burket 5-19, Good 3-16, Team 1-(-23).
PASSING: North–Snyder 3-9-0-65, Miller 4-6-1-33. South–Cavalet 3-4-1-28, Taneyhill 1-5-0-0, McMonagle 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING: North–Burford 3-61, Sawyer 2-12, Neff 1-18, Hurd 1-7. South–Vyborny 3-28, Sechler 1-0.
INTERCEPTIONS: North–Salamy, Danneker. South–Dodson.
TEAM STATISTICS N S
First downs 7 16
Rushes-yards 47-162 29-105
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 8-15-1 4-10-1
Yards passing 98 28
Total yards 260 133
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 4-30 4-55
Punts-avg. 5-22.8 5-41