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South All-Stars Outshine North All-Stars in Montgomery County All-Star Game

Written by: on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011. Follow Kyle Stephan on Twitter.


SOUDERTON – As the all-star participants in the 2011 Montgomery County All-Star Game took the field, those that were seniors had to be ecstatic at the thought of playing a Monday night football  game as their last high school game.  North and South all-star squads battled it out Monday night for the 2011 Montgomery County Trophy at Souderton Area High School.

The North squad featured players from Souderton, North Penn, Perkiomen Valley, Pottsgrove, and Norristown.

The South all-star squad showcased participants from Bishop McDevitt, Germantown Academy, Abington, Cheltenham, and Upper Merion.

South would simply outmatch the North squad and came away with the victory, 38-14. How they got there was a testament to every facet of the game, offense and defense, along with coaching ability.

During the beginning of the game however, the contest was much closer than the final score indicated. Initially, the South all-stars, led by senior quarterback Keith Braccia, won the coin toss and marched down the field. After Braccia converted a key 4th and 1 rush, he completed a post corner to senior wide receiver Dan Rouse of Cheltenham. Rouse scored the touchdown and with the extra point, South struck first at 7-0.

Upper Perkiomen’s Casey Perlstein started for the North squad at quarterback. Perlstein began his day on a hot streak, and drove his team down to the six yard line after a pass to Pottstown wideout Dawon Mathews. After an incredible one handed catch attempt by Mathews was ruled out of bounds, Perlstein’s drive stalled on fourth down and the scored remained at 7-0.

The South all-stars moved on by switching quarterbacks every other drive, this time utilizing Martin Henry from Bishop McDevitt. The switching had its pros and cons, as an ensuing South muffed punt gave the ball to North at their own 30-yard line.

With the ball in close, Perlstein simply handed off to the game’s eventual MVP for the North, Craig Needhammer (North Penn) for crucial yardage. Maika Polamalu from Pottsgrove ran in the eight yard score with around 30 seconds remaining in the quarter. With a missed extra point, the score stood at 7-6.

The problem for the North was the next stretch of scoring drives in the game and the South all-star’s resiliency on defense. Before the North all-stars knew it, they could not respond to the shootout by the South squad.

From the end of the first quarter to end of the third quarter, the South all-stars went on a run of 31 uncontested points. The key was the South defense, as Head Coach Paul Winters from Cheltenham explained. With Cheltenham cornerback Chris Stephen’s interception for South with the score 21-6 before the half ended, the offense could secure the lead and momentum in the third with additional points.

Winters praised his defense as much as his offense after the game, saying “Our defense was really locked down. All the other coaches did a great job. Our defense was wonderful.”

Cornerback Chris Stephens would secure the MVP for the South with his interception, as he led his defense’s effort to curtail any North all-star comeback. Winters praised Stephens, his player at Cheltenham. Winters also was honored with being voted into the head coach position by his colleagues, after being a career assistant coach.

The North squad would finally get another first down in the second half late in the third quarter, but after Stephen’s interception, quarterbacks Braccia and Henry ran the show and helped the offense score 17 points behind running back Gary Postell’s five yard score and Braccia’s touchdown pass to Abington’s DJ McFadden to make the score 38-6

South’s Keith Braccia ultimately ran the show and accounted for all five touchdowns (four passing touchdowns and one rushing). Braccia plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania next fall. He will play in the Sprint football league, which is the same division and rules of football, but with a playing weight restriction of fewer than 175 pounds.

Braccia explained his great performance after the contest, and using his weapons on offense. “In a game like this you just have to let the players show their skill. You don’t need much preparation. We have guys that good out on the field. ”

One of his weapons was wideout Dan Rouse, who scored two touchdowns on the day. Rouse explained that he easily used the simplified offense to run the corner route all day.

“Normally on the first play I just like to test them out, whether a run or pass. Test the {defensive} backs and see what’s open.”

Although the South all-stars dominated, and after a few heated skirmishes, there was mutual respect on both sides after the contest. North’s quarterback Casey Perlstein still was able to orchestrate another scoring drive for pride late in the fourth. North MVP Needhammer rushed for a well-deserved touchdown from six yards away, and after the two point conversion, the score remained 38-14.

In the end, the assistant coach turned head coach for a day mastered a team of all-stars and outmatched his North counterparts. Winters added after the game, “We moved the players around, just like a chess match, to match up with theirs and try to get the best match up.”

Coach Winters helped his team captains hoist the Montgomery County All-Star trophy, and defended South’s title after the squad won the game the previous year. North will look to seek revenge after another year of High School ball awaits us.

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