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Strong passing leads North win
by Mitch Stephens, Chronicle Staff Writer
There wasn't a Division I-A signee in Wednesday's 33rd annual Silicon Valley/Charlie Wedemeyer All-Star football game at San Jose State.
But several athletes played as if they eventually could reach that level in the North's 24-21 victory before about 6,000 fans.
A 45-yard field goal by Kevin Blakley (Westmont-Campbell graduate) with 9:05 remaining was the difference in the game, which pits some of the top recent graduates from Santa Clara County.
For the North, which won its second straight game but trails in the series 17-14-2, the passing combination of quarterback Nick Goodspeed (Palo Alto graduate) to David Martini (Los Gatos) was impressive.
The duo hooked up for the game's first touchdown on a 12-yard pass and Goodspeed, a 6-foot-2, 175-pounder who will play this fall at Choate Rosemary Hall (Conn.), a college preparatory school, was 6-for-9 for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Goodspeed, who led Palo Alto to the CIF state Division II title game last season, showed superb mobility and an accurate arm all night.
Martini, a 6-2, 195-pounder who plans to walk on at UCLA, had five catches for 80 yards. His most important catch might have been a diving 7-yard third-down grab just off the turf to finish the North's game-ending drive.
For the South, Kevin Gonzales (Bellarmine) was at times spectacular with two touchdowns, including an impressive 86-yard kickoff return and a 6-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Cruz (Piedmont Hills-San Jose).
Gonzales, who still hasn't decided on a college, also caught a 2-point conversion that tied the score at 21-21 with 2:47 left in the third quarter.
The North took a 7-0 lead with 5:35 left in the first quarter on a pretty 12-yard fade pass from Goodspeed to Martini.
The scoring drive went 68 yards and took only 1:43 as Goodspeed completed three passes for 57 yards, starting with a 27-yarder to Martini. Marcus Woo (Monta Vista-Cupertino) busted off a 20-yard run to also key the drive.
Gonzales, a nimble 5-8, 140-pounder, picked the short ensuing kickoff off the turf at the 16 and returned it 84 yards for a touchdown.
Gonzales, a first-team All-West Catholic Athletic League performer who had 43 catches for 877 yards last season, sprinted down the right side, cut back across field near midfield and went untouched the rest of the way down the left side. The extra point missed, so the North kept the lead 7-6.
It didn't last long as after a North turnover, the South went 17 yards in six plays, capped with a 6-yard touchdown run by Marcos Garces (Willow Glen-San Jose). The extra point by Craig Hertler (Branham-San Jose) gave the South a 13-7 lead with 2:28 left in the first quarter.
A big stick by Ryan Medeiros and fumble recovery by former Santa Teresa-San Jose teammate Aki Dionisopoulos set up the score.
Despite outgaining the South 147-15 in the first quarter, the North trailed by a touchdown.
CCSF-bound quarterback Kevin Vye (Oak Grove-San Jose) had the South on the move before North cornerback Tyler Dimich (Milpitas) put his team back in front with a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Vye, under heavy duress, tried to complete an out pattern but Dimich cut in front of the intended receiver, made the interception, escaped a tackle try by Vye, then scooted down the sideline for the score making it 14-13 with 4:47 left in the half.
After a fumble recovery by Stephen Kadash (St. Francis-Mountain View), the North went up 21-13 two minutes later as Goodspeed evaded a rush, scrambled to the left sideline, then fired a pretty 40-yard touchdown strike to Kendall Henon (Prospect-Saratoga).
E-mail Mitch Stephens at email@example.com.