Late Defensive Stand Lifts North L-L All Stars To Hard-Fought 14-7 Triumph In Tri County All Star Game
More often times than not, the mere thought of All Star games tend to conjure up images of shall we say less than inspired defense with more offensive fireworks than some 4th of July displays. Maybe it was the fact that the 16th Annual Tri County All Star Game was played over Memorial Day weekend instead of its midsummer counterpart, but defense turned out to be the theme of the night as the North Lancaster Lebanon League All Stars came out on top of a 14-7 slobber-knocker that resembled a contest more familiar to Mid-October.
For a game in which successful scoring opportunities were few and far between, it certainly did not appear that way early on as the North squad marched down the field into South territory on their opening possession of the ballgame, aided by a key 4th & 2 scramble from Manheim Central’s Kody Kegarise, playing his last game on his home field. Ultimately however, the South D stiffened, turning away the North’s initial advance which culminated in an unsuccessful field goal attempt.
Much in the same way that the North opened up the first quarter by methodically plotting their way down the field turf, the South Side All Star crew did the same once the second quarter got underway. The charge was ignited when Warwick quarterback Tyler Trimarchi showed off his wheels by eluding pressure to find fellow Section 1 mate, Brian Wright of Wilson, along the sideline for a nice pass and catch combination down to the North 40 yard line. The march continued on after Solanco’s Eric Hopkins was able to move the chains with a fullback dive on 4th & 3, a fitting staple of the Golden Mule offense.
With the ball now resting inside the North’s 30 yard line, the South’s cause was aided by a pass interference call which ushered the South squad down to the 15 yard line, now firmly knocking on the North door. Facing a 3rd & 6 attempt at the 10 yard line, Cedar Crest’s Devon Bernard would have none of it as the Falcon delivered a punishing tackle for loss, setting up a South field goal. Just like their Northern opposition, the South’s initial try for points sailed everywhere but through the goalposts as the score remained deadlocked at 0-0with the game now approaching intermission.
After the South forced a 3 & out defensively, they stayed on the attack as Trimarchi hooked up once more with Brian Wright on a nearly identical play as the last series as the Southern All Stars were starting to find their groove. Trimarchi then took to the air later in the drive finding another reliable target in Garden Spot’s Joe Craver to break the scoring seal and put Team South up 7-0 with 2:01 left to play in the opening half after the 24 yard scoring strike.
Even though there was just a shade over two minutes remaining, the North squad would need just 48 seconds to answer. Things got rolling early on in the drive with a Lebanon County connection between ELCO’s Kyle Knight and Lebanon High’s Phil Hillesheim which got the North in business after a long pass and catch combo down to the fringe of the redzone at the 21. The North would need to go no further down the field to find points as Knight was able to scramble out of danger and find Manheim Central’s Gunnar Royer for the 21 yard TD strike to knot things up at 7-7 at the halftime break, with the North receiving the ball out of the locker room.
Just when it appeared that the North would show no signs of slowing down following a nice opening return from Annville Cleona’s Cameron Hoch out to the 40 yard line, yards would immediately be hard to come by in the plays that ensued.
After two successful plays from the South defense, a summer dose of “Manheim Magic” was in the air as Kody Kegarise was able to get outside of the oncoming pursuit and pick up a huge 3rd & 10 conversion just across the midfield stripe.
Following a nice swing pass from Kegarise to fellow Manheim Central Baron Jay Barreto, the North side found themselves on the front door yet again, with a roughing the passer call contributing to the change in real estate. Later on in the series, the North lined up from the 2 yard line which just so happens to be the bread and butter distance for ELCO’s punishing power back Tyler Horst, and the nearly 6 month seemed to show no ill effects as the outgoing Raider plowed his way across the goal line to put the North on top 14-7 as L-L football moved into the last quarter of the year before the summer hiatus.
With time of the essence, the South needed to mount a charge if there were to be any late game heroics on this night. Faced with a 3rd & 11 at their own 35 with 6:50 remaining, the South looked to Lampeter-Strasburg’s Chad Gaudino, a smart move in both November and in May, as the now-former LS Pioneer reeled in the catch to keep the drive alive down to midfield. Third down reared its head again later in the South drive as a now 3rd & 6 attempt was the objective to master. Luckily for Team South, Tyler Trimarchi was able to ace the test as Warwick’s dual-threat QB moved the chains after a 17 yard gallop down to the North 30 yard line.
On 2nd & 5 from 10, it looked like the South side found the answer that would tie things up after Trimarchi found Brain Wright with the toe-tap just inside the chalk, but the official on the scene did not agree as the South was now forced to navigate past yet another third down conversion. After miscommunication on the third down play, the South lined up for a field goal to cut into the North’s now seemingly gargantuan 7 point advantage. The South would not need the opportunity to kick however as the North jumped offsides, giving the South squad a golden opportunity, now at the 5 yard line.
Two costly holding calls would spell doom for the South as the Red troops were sent back to the 17 yard line. After picking up just 3 yards on the third down attempt, the do or die play of the ballgame was at hand in the form of 4th & Goal from the 14. After routes were covered up initially, Trimarchi scrambled to find time before ultimately taking off being escorted out of bounds short of the line to gain, clinching the victory for North side, officially closing the book on Lancaster Lebanon League football 2016.
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