South Prevails over North in Montgomery County all-star football game
The South all-stars overpowered the North all-stars in the 45th Montgomery County all-star game at Souderton high school this Monday. Although both squads had talented teams, South Head Coach Bret Stover and company were able to better manage the field position and the weather as South triumphed 28-7.
Throughout the beginning of the first half, however, all-stars from across Montgomery County clashed and stalled offensively. Prior to the game and early in the first quarter, both squads had to battle some driving rain, which would not deter the teams from passing the ball. The game was a close affair early and the North all-stars were actually able to strike first.
On the second possession, Souderton quarterback Tanner Allem drove his team down to South’s 11-line, and rushed a keeper down within the five-yard line. Norristown running back Brandon Shippen took care of business with a five-yard touchdown rush with 2:37 left to play in the first quarter to make the score 7-0. Shippen led the North squad in rushing throughout the day and earned the MVP trophy for the North all-stars for his efforts.
But the tables would turn for the remainder of the game in favor of the South all-stars, as South was able to capitalize on North turnovers and win the field position battle.
Before the first quarter ended, North punted, but sacrificed a turnover on downs as the punter let his knee hit the ground while fielding a low snap. South received the ball and Upper Dublin quarterback Andrew Derr commanded his offense for the first score of the day with 11:55 in the second quarter. Derr tossed a perfect lob to La Salle wide receiver Colin Buckley for a one-yard touchdown to tie the game up at 7-7.
The turning point of the first half also was in favor of the South squad, as Plymouth Whitemarsh defensive back Russhon Phillips intercepted North quarterback Allem and returned to ball to the North 31-yard line. South quarterback Derr dropped back and floated a perfect 20-yard pass to Abington wide receiver Josh Lee for the go-ahead touchdown with 8:41 remaining in the half.
Throughout the day, Andrew Derr sparked his offensive attack for South, and captured the South MVP trophy for his three total touchdowns on the day. Derr, who is going to West Chester for football, acknowledged the field position battle as vital to the South victory and his success throughout the day.
“Coming out it was hard to get (field possession) because we started off pinned. But this game was all about field position,” Derr said. “Starting off inside the 20 is easy, and we know we are going to score and we want to score, and we’ll take nothing less than that.”
Due to field position and Derr as commander in chief of the offense, South dominated the second half. North was not able to muster another scoring drive, which is a tribute to the play of the South defense. Plymouth Whitemarsh defensive back Phillips explained how his defense was able to lead as a unit.
“It’s just great to be in an atmosphere where everybody wants it and everybody wants to win,” Phillips said. “We all want to play hard and we played true football as a group. We played like a family swarming to the ball, multiple people to the ball each play. Our ‘D’ did great locking down all day.”
Quarterback Andrew Derr was able to capitalize in the third quarter after trading turnovers with North by making the most of the North squad’s next mistake. La Salle linebacker John Palermo stripped North quarterback Allem of the ball, and Plymouth Whitemarsh defensive end Garnell Sanders rcovered the fumble. South quarterback Derr threw a perfect bullet pass to a wide open Josh Lee for his third passing touchdown of the day for 23 yards. With 2:45 to go in the third quarter and a score of 21-7, South had the game in hand.
Derr ended the scoring for the day in the fourth quarter as South received the ball at the 33-yard line of the North squad. The signal caller completed a crucial fourth and two play to Abington tight end Chris Ruhl for a 20 yard gain. Plymouth Whitemarsh running back Xavier Ellington rammed into the end zone for one yard and a 28-7 lead at the 11:14 mark in the fourth quarter.
In all, the game came down to ball possession in the opponent’s territory. South was able to secure six trips to the opponents red zone, and completed four scoring drives. North contributed to these drives through turnovers at crucial junctures, and unfortunately could not muster more points after faltering on fourth down in the fourth quarter.
The game was still competitive throughout, as some all-stars, North and South alike, will play collegiate football or pursue other career interests. The game still brought together Montgomery County for one final, although chilly summer night, to watch the best of the best play on the field one last time.
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