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*** 32nd All-Star Game ***
Published Thursday, July 20, 2006, in the San Francisco Chronicle
A glitch in the public-address system led to a lot of screeching and sore ears. The action on the field wasn't much easier on the eyes.
Until the very end.
In a game dominated by defenses and referees, the North overcame sloppy and inconsistent offensive play to prevail 7-3 over the South in the 32nd annual Charlie Wedemeyer/Silicon Valley Youth Classic at San Jose City College on Wednesday night.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the North in an All-Star football game that pits some of the top June graduates from Santa Clara County.
Rich Scudellari (St. Francis-Mountain View graduate) completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Chantz Staden (Westmont-Campbell) with 1 minute, 19 seconds left to give the North only its second victory in the last eight years.
The touchdown capped a 12-play, 65-yard drive that started with 6:43 remaining. To that point, the North had managed only 58 yards of offense, fumbled six times and committed four turnovers.
Scudellari, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder headed for Yale, completed four passes on the game-winning drive, including two to Michael Almond (Milpitas) for 46 yards, the second of which went to the South 26. After two runs and an incompletion, Scudellari rolled to his right and threw back across his body to Staden, who caught the ball at the 8, evaded a tackler and sprinted into the end zone.
"It took us awhile to get going, but I knew we would get it together in the end," Scudellari said. "It was just a matter of time."
On the ensuing kickoff, the South fumbled and the North's Adam Pittman (Los Altos) recovered. The North looked like it would put icing on the cake with a score, but Emmanuel Sellu (Del Mar-San Jose) fumbled and the South made its fourth recovery, this time on its 4.
The South's last chance was thwarted by Carlos Alonso (Los Gatos), who intercepted a Duce Ferrante (Branham-San Jose) pass in the final moments.
Not only did Staden make the game-winning catch, but he also had a key interception in the game which featured eight turnovers and 24 penalties.
Scudellari completed six passes for 98 yards and Almond had four catches for 68 yards.
The South was led defensively by Oak Grove graduate Josh Grant (12 tackles, four for losses) and Valley Christian-San Jose linebacker A.J. Alvarez (two fumble recoveries).
The South had a chance to take a 10-0 lead early in the fourth quarter but linebacker Matt Taufoou (St. Francis) tackled Shaun Souza (Pioneer-San Jose) for a 2-yard loss on 4th-and-goal from the South 1.
There were only four first downs in the first half, compared with 13 penalties. The North mustered all of 26 yards of offense while fumbling five times.
The only score came on a 21-yard field goal by Ben Hansen (Valley Christian-San Jose) with 5:19 left in the first half.
The score was set up on a 39-yard pass from Duce Ferrante (Branham-San Jose) to David Carranza (Silver Creek) to the North 11. But after two short runs and an incompletion, the South had to settle for the field goal.
Other than the big pass play, the South managed only one first down and 56 yards in the first half.
E-mail Mitch Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org