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*** 28th All-Star Game ***
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South defense rises to occasion
Published Thursday, July 25, 2002, in the San Jose Mercury News
After scoring all 19 points in the first half Wednesday in the Charlie Wedemeyer all-star football game, the South looked to its defense to dictate the outcome in the second half.
The unit did just that, recording six of its eight sacks, including four in the fourth quarter, and holding the North scoreless in the final two quarters to secure a 19-15 victory in front of an estimated 6,000 fans at San Jose City College in the 28th annual Santa Clara County game for graduated seniors.
"This was a lot of fun for these kids, a great experience," said Pioneer's Mark Krail, who coached the South. "We knew we had to go after Trent, that was our only chance. The guys did a great job."
Krail was referring to North quarterback Trent Edwards, who set the state's career completion-percentage record last season at Los Gatos. Edwards, headed to Stanford on a scholarship, completed 12 of 18 passes for 114 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for a score but spent plenty of time trying to elude the South's pass rush during a pivotal fourth-quarter drive.
Trailing 19-15, Edwards eluded the pass rush three times to scramble for 20 yards on a drive midway through the fourth quarter. After the South gave the North new life with a 15-yard penalty on fourth down, Edwards was hit as he threw on fourth-and-two at the South 30.
"Their D-line really came after us," Edwards said. "They picked up the intensity and came after us."
On the South's next possession, it was faced with a decision on fourth-and-one from its 39 with 5:12 remaining. The South opted to go, and Lincoln's Brad Yanez gained 11 yards with a run up the middle. The South faced fourth down again with 2:49 remaining and punted from its 45. It got a good roll and left the North 91 yards away from the winning touchdown.
Milpitas quarterback Dustin Guglielmelli drove the North to the South 44. But the drive stalled when Guglielmelli was sacked by Live Oak's Christian Lilleland for a 7-yard loss and the North was whistled for a holding penalty.
Several South players got to Edwards. Santa Teresa's David Salamida recorded two sacks and Oak Grove's Neil Duffy-Smith added one.
Gregory Lovely of Gunderson had a big first half for the South, catching three passes for 90 yards. He caught a crucial 12-yard pass from Lincoln's Tyler Silva on fourth-and-nine from the North 12. Two plays later, Silva connected with Christopher Gengl of Valley Christian for a 7-yard touchdown to take a 19-15 halftime lead.
"This was a great experience with all these all-stars," said Lovely, who will play at Sacramento State this fall. "We worked hard, learned the system and went out and executed."
The North opened the scoring after recovering a South fumble at the North 36. Edwards connected with his Los Gatos teammate Chris Willard. The South responded by marching 71 yards in 15 plays, capped by a 1-yard run from Oak Grove's Leone Iosefa.
The South extended its lead on its next possession. Silva lateraled to Overfelt's Juan Gonzalez, who found Lovely downfield for a 44-yard reception. Two plays later, Leland's Tyler Jones scored on a 29-yard run, giving the South a 12-7 lead.
Edwards gave the North a 15-12 lead when he scored on a 1-yard run late in the second quarter. Monta Vista's Drew Rogers set up the score with an interception return to the South 20.
South 6 13 0 0 - 19