Public City All-Stars outlast Non-Public All-Stars, 29-22
The annual City High School All-Star Classic football game was held at Lincoln Financial Field this Thursday, May 10, 2012, in Philadelphia. The public city High School all-stars squared off against the Non-Public city High School all-stars, in the 38th contest between the squads. The Public all-stars looked to defend their title for a second year, as the non-public team had last won in 2010.
As always, the contest featured one momentum swing after another, as fourth downs and the winners of the turnover battle determined the winner of the game. Also, the public all-stars switched quarterbacks every quarter, while the non-public all-stars switched signal callers about every series. The game would grow to favor the quarterback play and strategy of the public all-stars, but to begin, non-public took the early 7-0 lead.
After converting the first of several vital fourth down conversions on the day, non-public quarterback Rob Daniels from Father Judge high school handed off to running back Marcus Kelly, from Roman Catholic. Kelly would score on an 18-yard rush and eventually capture the offensive MVP award for his efforts for the non-public stars throughout the day.
Yet the luck would turn in favor of the public all-stars after a series of turnovers on downs by the two squads. Running back Shaquil Sammons from Bok public high school was stopped in the backfield for a loss of downs, but the referees determined a non-public defensive lineman blitzed off the line, which was against the rules. After the momentum shift, quarterback Shariff Smith from Furness public high school capitalized with a one-yard touchdown run to even the score at 7-7.
The public stars’ Smith would add another one-yard touchdown off a one yard keeper on another crucial fourth and one play. The momentum shifts clearly began to decide to game, with a small bit of luck for public. After a broken snap, Myles Brooker from Germantown public high school converted a two point conversion to make the score 15-7 at half time.
Entering the third quarter, public head coach Erik Zipay from Simon Gratz public high school continued switching quarterbacks per quarter and called upon quarterback Marquise Brown from Bok public high school to finish off the job. It turns out Brown was capable of matching his counterpart in Smith with touchdowns on the day and earned the public offensive MVP award for leading his team to victory.
Before Brown’s success however, the non-public stars kept the game competitive by capitalizing off public star turnovers. Defensive linemen Eric Condron, who was awarded defensive MVP on the day, stripped Brown of the ball at public’s own goal line, and linebacker Todd-Jamal Waters fell on the fumble for the touchdown. After non-public quarterback Jaleel Reed rushed for the two-point conversion, the score was tied at 15-15.
Yet for Brown, this hit was the defining moment of the game.
“In an all-star game, there’s not a lot of practice, plus there’s a lot of people watching so we got a lot of emotions,” Brown said. “Emotions got the best of us in the beginning, but the coaches calmed us down, kept it together. I think the hit in the end zone got me motivated. Seeing my family, I didn’t want to disappoint them.”
Brown got his chance when the non-public stars fumbled their punt and he was able connect with wide receiver Shakur NeSmith in the back of the end zone after a perfectly placed lob pass. The score was now 22-15 in favor of public, and strangely, NeSmith had an unlikely second chance at this memorable moment at Lincoln financial field. After a pushing match with a non-public player, NeSmith was actually ejected from the game in the first half. After appealing the call with his coaches, NeSmith was allowed to play.
“When I got back on, I tried to score as soon as possible and I did,” NeSmith said after the game. “It felt good because it was an all-star game. But I wanted to score because this is where I am going to be next year, at Temple University. I wanted to start off early scoring here.”
With NeSmith moving on to Temple University from Imhotep Charter, Brown will move on to Stephens Tech for two years of football after Bok public high school. Marquise Brown continued his winning ways, as public secured its lead in the fourth quarter with a 33-yard touchdown pass to his tight end Aaron Allison, from Frankfurd public high school. Allison broke two tackles to capture the touchdown and 29-15 advantage with 14:05 left in the fourth quarter, securely supporting public’s claim for the all-star title.
Overall, non-public quarterbacks Rob Daniels and Jaleel Reed played well, and combined for a balanced offensive attack. But after a late public interception by defensive back Khalil Scott from Simon Gratz public high school, the non-public stars were only able to add a late touchdown score. It was too little too late, as the public all-stars prevailed over the non-public stars, 29-22. Both public quarterbacks would own the day, as wide out Shakur NeSmith noted after the game.
“Both the quarterbacks (for public) worked hard in practice, (being) the first one there and the last one to leave,” NeSmoth said. “They both were the captains of the team so they had control of the whole team and everything. And the offensive line was great. And the defensive, (Jihad Ward and Byron Cooper) gave the (opposing) offensive line a lot of pressure.”
Overall, Coaches Brian Fluck for non-public and Erik Zipay for public should be proud of the team efforts and individuals awards. The public defensive MVP honors went to lineman Demetrious Town Jr. from Ben Franklin high school. Public running back Rolando Ransom and non-public defensive lineman Dan Mancini received the sportsmanship awards for each squad.
Also to note was that Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin of the Philadelphia Eagles made appearances on the sidelines. After playing on their field, the all-stars surely would hope to follow in their footsteps.
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