WALTHAM — For Alex Jette, who starred on the gridiron for North Attleboro in the fall, Saturday’s 30th Shriners All-Star Football Classic represented a bit of a conundrum: His red-and-white helmet, which he wore while playing for the South All-Stars, had Hockomock League rival Mansfield’s big green logo on it.
“I got the Mansfield ‘M’ on there, and it was a little tough to put that one on,” Jette said, unable to hold back a laugh. “During the season, I didn’t really like those kids. Of course, they’re our rivals — I can’t like them — but I found out all those kids are really nice and we became friends through the whole thing.”
Jette, however, was able to put rivalries aside and the helmet — and his receiving prowess — to good use, catching a touchdown pass in each half as the South beat the North All-Stars, 21-7, at Bentley University.
The Shriners Classic pits Eastern Massachusetts’ best against each other, the North and South facing off for bragging rights and to raise money for the Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston.
This year, four players took MVP honors: Quincy running back Jalen Green (offense) and Brockton defensive back Austin Roberts (defense) for the South, as well as Haverhill running back Chance Brady (offense) and St. Mark’s linebacker Mark Upton (defense) for the North.
The South team controlled much of the opening half, using a pair of first-quarter touchdowns and a handful of big plays from Roberts to take a 14-0 lead into the locker room.
Jette got the scoring started with a 9-yard touchdown reception from Barnstable quarterback Nick Peabody at 4:08.
Minutes later, after Roberts’s interception inside the 5, Green doubled the South’s lead as time expired in the first. The 5-foot-7-inch running back ran it in from 81 yards with a pair of North defenders in pursuit.
The North offense was stifled for much of the half by a stingy South defense, its best chance thwarted when Roberts took down Brady on an open-field tackle in the final minutes.
“I saw him making a cut, and I couldn’t really make a good form tackle, so I did my best to cut his knees out,” Roberts said. “He’s a low runner so you have to get lower on him.”
In the third, the South All-Stars took it slow and steady to kill the clock and expand their lead. They possessed for eight minutes before East Bridgewater’s Andrew Benson completed a fourth-down, 3-yard pass to Jette to make it 21-0.
The North ended the shutout bid with Lowell’s Cameron Latta connecting with Shawsheen Regional’s Devonn Pratt on a 41-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. But Canton’s Dexter Green Jr. effectively ended the game with an interception on the North’s next drive.
“We were kind of mad we let up a touchdown at all because at half time we wanted to get the shutout,” Roberts said.
“It’s just good to come out here in the summertime and get a little taste before we come back in the fall. We had a great team.”