Category: VSN Football
South routs the West; North tops the East in double-overtime
by Gary Adornato
The 23rd annual Baltimore Touchdown Club All-Star Classic took place on Saturday afternoon at Archbishop Spalding High School and for the third consecutive year the event featured two games.
This year’s match-ups were West vs. South and East vs. North, before a large crowd, which included many college coaches and recruiters seeking a glimpse of the impressive group of seniors, many playing their final high school game.
In the opener, the South ran away from the West for a 45-20 victory, while the nightcap saw the North pull out a thrilling 27-23 win in overtime.
Both teams started fast in the opening game, as the West and South combined for three touchdowns in the game’s first three possessions, but as action progressed, only the South kept up the pace as it cruised to the 25-point victory.
North County running back Chris Leslie broke the ice with a six-yard touchdown run for the South, and Oakdale’s Simon Sabvute countered for the West with a TD run of his own.
“It was a great time, fun guys, meet new faces, just amazing,” said Leslie of his BTC experience. “We’ve got a good team. Most of the people we know. They standout in the County (Anne Arundel). They stand out in the state. We just came together and kicked butt.”
Playing on his home field, Spalding’s Jayden Umbarger gave the South the lead for good with a 60-yard touchdown pass to his Spalding teammate Chris Clark.
Early in the second quarter, St. Mary’s kicker Dominic Donohue connected for a 29-yard field goal to stretch the South lead to 17-7. The West responded with a 65-yard drive, which was jumpstarted by a 39-yard pass play from Catoctin QB Christian Michael to Tuscarora’s Naeem Watson. Two plays later, Michael found Watson for 1-yard scoring pass and the West was within three at 17-14.
Instead of taking that momentum into halftime, the South struck quickly for another score.
North County quarterback Deontez Parker led the drive and got it going with a 50-yard scramble that put his team on the West’s 23. Then, after getting pushed back by a penalty, Parker took off again, running 27 yards for a score with just 16 seconds to play.
Things went from bad to worse for the West at the start of the third quarter as it fumbled the opening kickoff. One play later Umbarger completed an 18-yard TD pass to another Spalding teammate, Brevin Easton, and the South led 31-14.
Later in the third quarter, Broadneck linebacker Matt McAllister scored on a 60-yard pick six, pushing the lead to 38-14.
The West finally got back on the board in the fourth quarter with a 31-yard slant pass for a touchdown from Michael to Urbana’s Brendan Schmitz.
The South then capped the scoring with a 12-yard TD pass from Parker to Clark.
Severn Park head coach Will Bell, who led the South, enjoyed the experience as much as his players.
“It was a blast,” said Bell. “I could not have a had a better staff of guys coaching with us, from all over the place, private and public, and the group of kids we picked were phenomenal. They were a lot of fun the last two weeks. The practice was very competitive and we felt very good coming in today.”
In the second game, Archbishop Curley’s Tyler Locklear hauled in a four-yard pass from South Carroll quarterback Mason Gavin, in the second overtime, to give the North the victory.
Tied 14-14 after four quarters, the North got a 25-yard field goal from Sam Grace of Boys’ Latin, on the first possession of overtime, to take a 17-14 lead. Pushed back by a bad snap, the East needed a clutch 42-yard field goal by Towson’s Leighton Bechdel to force a second overtime.
The East had the ball first in the second OT and after being turned back two times from the two-yard line, the East took a 20-17 lead on another field goal by Bechdel.
Both kickers had big games, as each converted three field goals, including a 28-yarder by Grace on the game’s opening possession to give the North an early 3-0 advantage. A 3-yard run by Howard’s Devin Dawkins made it 10-0 for the North later in the opening quarter and it stayed that way into the second half.
In the second half, Bechdel put the East on the board with a long field goal, before Mervo’s Corey Shell took over the game for a bit.
Shell recorded two pick six touchdown returns, one in the third quarter to tie the game and another in the fourth to give his team a 17-10 lead, but the North rallied to tie on a 3-yard TD run by Dawkins with just 50-seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
North head coach Scott Ripley picked up his second victory as a BTC head coach. He last coached and won the game in 2009, leading the East over the West at McDaniel College.
“I credit our players for never giving up and competing to the last whistle,” said Ripley. “Our coaches did a great job today as well. On the overtime timeout, Coach Neil Keenan (St. Paul's) and Coach Ken Brickman (John Carroll) drew up a play that they had not practiced or run during the week of practice.”