Taking part in a yearly tradition, nine players from the Hockomock League and Oliver Ames coach Jim Artz were named to the South All-Stars for the 2012 Shriners’ All-Star Football Classic Friday night.
Raising money for charity, it was also a chance for some of the best players in the state to take part in one last game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. A close game to the end, the South All-Stars snuck past the North All-Stars, 15-12.
The North team struck first midway though the second quarter when quarterback Jonathan DiBiaso found Kyle Shields for a three-yard touchdown pass to pull ahead of the South team 6-0.
With the South down by a touchdown, it was the Hockomock League players that got the South back in the game. Responding immediately after the North’s score, Matt Montalto found Franklin’s Rhett Davis for a 40 yard touchdown. The two point conversion gave the South a two point lead.
With under a minute to play in the half, King Philip running back Charles Ruffin extended the lead for the South All-Stars after a four-yard run late in the second quarter.
“I got to give credit to the wide receivers and linemen. That was all them,” Ruffin said.
The North would get back to within three late in the third off of a George Crann run from the five yard line but the extra point was no good.
With about 2:30 left in the game and a turnover on downs by the North All-Stars, a win for the South seemed to be a forgone conclusion until the North All-Stars recovered the ball for one more chance at a tie or win.
After recovering the ball with around two minutes to play on South 35 yard line, the North All-Stars had a chance to win the game but North Attleboro’s Paul Norris got to DiBiaso on both second and third town to set up a fourth a long.
Unable to get the ball off in time, DiBiaso was sacked again by Walpole’s Craig Hanley to all but wrap up a win for the South.
With only three players on offense, most of the action for the Hockomock League was on defense. Mansfield’s Zack Schafer ended the game with six tackles. OA’s Alex Tepper and North Attleboro’s Paul Norris both had five tackles. Norris was also named the Defensive MVP for the South All-Stars.
Stoughton’s Brandon Alves had three tackle and KP and South captain Jason Litchfield had a tackle.
“I’ve never done this before," said Alves. "First time, it’s great. There is no words to say, it’s unbelievable.”
Matt Montalto of Dennis-Yarmout was named the Offensive MVP for the South All-Stars. Wilmington’s John Parsons was named the Defensive MVP for the North All-Stars while Concord-Carlise’s George Crann was named the Offensive MVP
At halftime, three checks for a grand total of $21,000 was given to the Shriners. The Massachusetts High School Football Coaches’ Association gave $3,000, Massachusetts High School Football Prospect Information gave a check for $10,000, and Lowell Firefighters’ Club donated $8,000.
“This is a fun game for charity and the Shriners do an amazing job with everything the do so that’s what we got to remind the kids what it’s about,” South and BC High head coach Jon Bartlett said.