FOXBOROUGH - Everett quarterback John DiBiaso stepped under center with just two minutes left in the game, prepared to orchestrate a game-winning drive.
But the South’s defense abruptly ended DiBiaso’s attempt, sacking the Dartmouth-bound quarterback on third and fourth downs to secure a 15-12 win over the North squad in the 34th Shriners All-Star Classic at Gillette Stadium Friday night.
“The defense played awesome all night, they played fast all night,’’ South coach Jon Bartlett said.
With 2:18 remaining, the North failed to convert on fourth and 6 with an incomplete pass from receiver A.J. Baker (Swampscott) to DiBiaso, and it appeared as if the South was going to run the clock to zero.
But Geeavontie Griffith (Cathedral) fumbled a toss from quarterback Matt Montalto (Dennis-Yarmouth) and the North charged back on the field eager to score.
DiBiaso’s first pass was incomplete, and then he ran for 2 yards before the back-to-back sacks.
“You just got to put the [fumble] behind you,’’ Bartlett said. “Going in, there’s going to be ebb-and-flow of the game and you have to make sure you put the last part behind you.’’
Defensive end Paul Norris (North Attleboro) led the South’s defense with 2 1/2 sacks to earn the team defensive MVP award.
The North struck first when DiBiaso delivered a 3-yard pass to running back Kyle Shields (Burlington) to give his team a 6-0 lead at 6:32 in the second quarter.
But on the ensuing possession, Montalto delivered a 45-yard strike to Gordon McLeod (BC High), who made a leaping catch to secure the ball at the 40-yard line.
Two plays later, Montalto hit Rhett Davis (Franklin) with a 40-yard pass for the score and the South used a 2-point conversion to take an 8-6 lead.
Charles Ruffin (King Philip) scored a 1-yard touchdown run on the South’s next possession with 55 seconds left in the half for a 15-6 lead.
However, the North battled back with an 8:47, 67-yard possession in the third quarter that was capped with a 5-yard run for George Crann (Concord-Carlisle).