LYNN — South coach Neal Weidman shuffled through quarterbacks before finally settling with Brian Santry. It was crunch time, and Weidman had faith in the 6-foot quarterback from Swampscott.
With 3:09 remaining and his team clinging to a 1-point lead, Santry delivered a 35-yard touchdown pass down the center of the field to Kyle Gotham of Revere to help the South defeat the North, 13-6, in the 52d annual Agganis All-Star Classic at Manning Bowl Thursday night.
Gotham burst through the seam on a stick-and-go, and the North safety bit on the short route, leaving the 6-2 receiver open on the goal line.
“We practiced that play quite a bit,” said the Mass. Maritime-bound Santry, who was named MVP for the South. “We got the safety to bite, and Kyle made a great catch and the linemen held their blocks.”
The South began the drive on its 20-yard line, and Santry (5 for 9, 152 yards) hit Mark Horgan of Gloucester with a 25-yard pass. Santry and Everett running back Kenny Calaj rattled off five of the next six rushing plays to get the ball to the 25. After a 10-yard holding penalty, Santry delivered the dagger to Gotham.
On the ensuing possession, North quarterback Fran Hannon (Bishop Fenwick/Providence) connected with receiver Cody Rothwell (Pentucket/UNH) for a 34-yard pass to bring the ball to the South 21, however, Rothwell was stripped and the South recovered. After a three-and-out, the North had another chance to tie the game, but South linebacker Tommy Trainor (Saugus/Bridgewater State) intercepted Jerome Cappadona (Pingree) on fourth down with 1:03 remaining to seal the victory.
“It was fun,” said Weidman, who is the coach of Lynnfield. “I didn’t know what to expect with a bunch of all-stars if there were going to be any attitudes, but these kids were super nice kids. They were great.”
Trailing at the half, 6-0, the South opened the third quarter with a 65-yard kickoff return from Reading’s Ryan Maney, and Kenny Pierce (Beverly/Saint Anselm) scored on a 1-yard run as the South took a 7-6 lead.
After a scoreless first quarter, the North struck in the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run from running back Cristian Rivera (Greater Lawrence/Bridgewater State). On second and 10 from the 20-yard line, Hannon fired a pass to North MVP Alex Moore (St. John’s Prep), who made a sliding catch at the 4-yard line to set up Rivera’s score.
With just under a minute to play in the first half, the North threatened again after quarterback Tommy Morgan (Haverhill/RPI) dropped a perfect pass over a defender and into the arms of Moore on the 1-yard line.
But after being denied on first and goal, Tucker Mathers (St. John’s Prep) fumbled into the end zone and South’s Jepthe Soulouque (Everett) returned it to the 30-yard line to end the scoring threat.
“They played very hard,” said North coach Jim O’Leary, who coaches St. John’s Prep. “They made plays, and we had fumbles and you can’t turn the ball over in this kind of football game.”