South rolls past North
JIM TAYLORSEBRING - Though there were some moments of offensive excitement, the defenses ruled the 58th Annual Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South Football All-Star Classic on Wednesday night at Firemen's Field.
Published: December 21, 2012
Published: December 21, 2012
The South squad took advantage of eight North turnovers to post a 25-14 victory.
After forcing a North punt after three plays to start the game, the South squad drove to the North's 12-yard line before committing the first turnover of the game.
The North returned the favor just moments later when they picked off a Sandon Mims pass that would eventually lead to a 33-yard field goal by Austin Taylor to give the South a 3-0 lead.
"We moved the ball back and forth from the twenties," said South Head Coach Rod Shafer. "But we didn't get it in the end zone enough."
The North would have the ball stripped from them on their next possession, which led to a missed field goal attempt by the South.
As the North squad continued to struggle offensively, the South seem to be hitting their stride toward the end of the first quarter, but again they were stopped short of the goal as Taylor kicked his second field goal of the game to put the South up 6-0.
In the second quarter, the South was able to finally reach the end zone as quarterback Pete Devino scored from three yards out.
The failed 2-point conversion gave the South a 12-0 lead.
The North offense finally started to move on its next drive, but stalled at the South 32. On fourth down, the North went for it and failed.
South took over on downs and on the first play, quarterback Jake Lutzen connected with TJ Douglas on a 68-yard touchdown pass. The extra point kick increased the lead to 19-0.
With the final minutes winding down in the first half, the North caught a break when they recovered on fumble at the South 13.
They converted a fourth down and scored on a 2-yard run by Stafon McCray to put the North on the board trailing the South 19-7.
The South came out the second half with a nearly six minute offensive drive that was capped off by Taylor's third field goal of the game, this one from 42 yards out.
He would miss one toward the end of the quarter as the game went into the final quarter with the South leading 22-7.
The South seemed to have the game in hand until receiver Bentlee Critcher for the North raced past a South defender down the right sideline.
Quarterback Mims threw a perfect pass that hit him in stride and suddenly it was a game again as the North closed the gap to 22-14 with 11:02 left in the game.
The turnover bug would return as the North fumbled on their next possession that resulted in Taylor's fourth field goal of the game to make the score 25-14.
The final nail was when North quarterback Mark Cato threw his third interception of the game to the South's Most Valuable Player, Richard Benjamin Jr, who hauled in two of them.
The South was able to run out the clock and hold on for the 25-14 victory.
Tevin Floyd was named MVP for the North Squad.
When asked about how they were able to handle a highly touted Cato, Shafer stated that they were loaded with defensive linebackers and backs, so we put pressure on him.
"He's a great quarterback," said Shafer. "Don't let one game with three days of practice make that big of a difference."
This was Shafer's first time as a Head Coach in the North-South Classic.
The one local player competing in this prestigious game was Sebring's Arthur Williams, who played defensive back and at wide receiver for the victorious South squad.
"It was an honor to be chosen to play in this game," said Williams. "It was exciting to be on the field with all of these great players and it's something I'll always remember.
"It was a great way to finish my high school career and I'm looking forward to playing college football."