North’s ground crew cleans up
FOXBOROUGH — In last night’s Shriners Hospital High School Football All-Star Game at Gillette Stadium, the South squad took the charity aspect of the game a bit too far.
The South looked almost willing to give up yards on the ground to the North, which won the exhibition for the first time since 2005, 17-14.
The North’s dominating rushing attack was led by Offensive MVP Trae Weathers, who ran for 70 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
“They couldn’t stop us [on the ground],’’ said the Revere running back. “We had to keep doing it.’’
The Defensive MVP for the North was Billerica tackle Justin Hood, whose two sacks on the final drive helped clinch it for Shawsheen coach Al Costabile’s squad.
“They are all just exceptional caliber players,’’ said Costabile, before being doused in an ice bath in the middle of Gillette Stadium.
Methuen quarterback Cal Carroll ran in the winning touchdown from 1 yard with 1:33 left. Earlier in the drive, he hooked up with Everett’s Matt Costello for a 22-yard pass on a third-and-16. Weathers also had a pivotal 18-yard run on fourth and 1.
The drive was kick-started when Tyllor McDonald of Lynn English forced and recovered a fumble on a long pass play with 5:03 left and the South threatening to close it out.
The South’s final desperation drive was snuffed out by Hood’s two sacks and another by Gloucester’s Chris Unis.
The South caught the North off guard by opening the game with an onside kick that Attleboro’s Nate Robitaille recovered at the 36-yard line. Quarterback Sean Mayo, who excelled in Holliston’s spread offense, closed the short gap to the end zone with his arm and legs, eventually completing a 9-yard pass to Robitaille. Mike Chicoine of Bridgewater-Raynham added the extra point.
The North answered with a ground-oriented, 16-play drive that chewed up 8:17, alternating touches between Gloucester’s Jordan Shairs and Weathers. Finally, Carroll found Anthony Arcari of Tewksbury for a 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth and goal, and Hamilton-Wenham’s James Brao tied it up with the point after.
Brao sent the North into halftime with a 10-7 lead with a 17-yard field goal. Somerset’s Seth DeMello picked off Carroll in the end zone with 34 seconds left in the half.
The South took a 14-10 lead in the third on a 15-yard TD toss from Tyler Park of Scituate to Cohasset’s Jack Carrier.
The losing coach was the retiring James Sullivan, who closed out a very successful 22-year run at Norwell.
“The game is about the kids always,’’ he said. “I loved the enthusiasm on both sides, I loved the way they were hitting, but the North seemed to have one big play on each series of downs.’’
The game benefits the Shriners Hospital in Boston, which specializes in the care of burn victims.