South running back Willie Martinez of Serra weaves past defenders to score a touchdown in the Alex Spanos All-Star Classic at Mesa College.
With the game on the line and the clock ticking, the South went to an old reliable.
Christian Brooks, who caught 92 balls for Grossmont last football season, hauled in a 9-yard scoring pass from Serra’s Hunter Correll as the South rallied for a 21-17 win Friday night in the 24th annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic.
The South’s winning drive that resulted in a TD with 2:33 to play was set up by a Davaughn Murray interception.
The former Mount Miguel star returned the interception 50 yards from his 15 to the North 35 to put his club in position to score.
It took the South seven plays, including a 13-yard scramble by Correll, the South MVP, and a 14-yard pass to Brooks, to score.
“I was focusing on running my route and just made a play,” Brooks said. “It was a play we just put in for the All-Star game.”
The pass-happy South was nearly beaten at its own game.
North quarterback Sebastian Tengan of San Pasqual, his team’s MVP, threw for 264 yards and a pair of TDs, including a fourth-quarter, 80-yard scoring strike to Grant Huffman, putting the North ahead 17-14 with 6:54 to play.
The speedy Huffman, Tengan’s San Pasqual teammate, got behind the defense and outran the secondary for the score.
“Grant can really run,” said North coach Tony Corley. “The South had some really good DBs, and Grant ran away from them.
“It’s not fun to lose, but both sides competed like crazy.”
Tengan had to play the entire game at quarterback after Jack Mann of La Costa Canyon, the North’s other quarterback, was injured on defense in the first quarter.
“It was tough on Tengan,” Corley said. “He had to play in a different system than he’s used to, but he played very well.”
The North got four turnovers — three fumbles and an interception by Ramona’s Nathan Cherek.
“We got some turnovers and held onto the ball, but the South made some big plays,” Corley said
The game was marred by 15 penalties.
The North had two possessions in the game’s dying minutes, but sacks by Cathedral Catholic’s Kyle Davis and Justin Cook of La Jolla put an end to the North’s chances.
The South scored first, driving 97 yards on six plays with KJ Moore of Madison going the last two yards for the score.
“This was a very sweet victory,” said South coach Tom Karlo. “It was a high-energy effort.
“Our defense played great.
“I want to thank the Chargers for putting this on. It’s a very positive thing.”
The victory was the fourth in a row for the South. In the last 20 games, the series is now even at 10 games each.