Newport Harbor High product Elliott Frye, drills North All-Star quarterback Jack Telenko in the back for a loss during the Orange County All-Star Football Game at Orange Coast College on Friday.
With the scoreboard out at LeBard Stadium, someone began to count down to the pregame introductions for the Brea Lions Club Orange County North-South Prep All-Star Football Game.
Phil Anton, the game’s director, kept track in the press box. He had 10 minutes to get the scoreboard to work and to get down to the field.
Once Anton made it, the scoreboard lit up. Anton was on the field, ready to shake the hands of the players near midfield.
Before the PA announcer called out the names of the four Newport-Mesa players in the game — Corona del Mar linebacker Karl Donovan, Estancia defensive end Jason Jones, Newport Harbor defensive end Elliott Frye and Newport Harbor right tackle Max Spruill — he announced one who wasn’t in the game.
There were a couple of glitches before Friday’s kickoff to the OC All-Star Game, and understandably so. Eight months have passed since the last high school football game took place at OCC.
For Donovan, Frye, Spruill and Jones, this marked the final time they were able to represent their respective high schools. The local foursome went out as collective winners, helping the South defeat the North, 37-20.
Donovan took the field first on special teams, and Frye started at defensive end, while Spruill was the starting right tackle. Jones came off the bench to relieve Frye. Donovan and Frye each came up with big second-quarter plays, Donovan intercepted a pass and Frye registered a sack.
A couple of turnovers led to the first touchdown for each team. On the second play from scrimmage, Sonora tailback Jacob Fimbres fumbled and Fountain Valley defensive tackle Keiti Iakopo recovered on the North’s 35-yard line.
The South used a little trickery on first down to strike first.
University quarterback Neil Boudreau handed the ball to Santa Margarita’s Matthew Mark, who pitched it back to Boudreau. The flea-flicker worked, as Boudreau found Capistrano Valley receiver Mitchell Nickovich in the back of the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown pass.
Twenty-nine seconds into the contest, the South led, 7-0. The South began to go back on offense, forcing a three-and-out.
But the ensuing punt glanced off San Clemente’s Andrew Frohner and the North pounced on the ball on the South’s two. It took two runs for Garden Grove running back Jordan Antunez to punch it in for a touchdown.
The only thing preventing the North from tying it was a missed extra-point kick by Mater Dei’s Elias Deeb.
The North gave Deeb another chance late in the first quarter. The North put together a seven-play, 61-yard scoring drive. There were a couple of pass plays involving Yorba Linda wideout Zack Sowder, one for 36 yards and the other for an 11-yard gain. Donovan made the tackle on the latter, getting some assistance from one of the referees, whom Sowder ran into inside the South’s five-yard line.
Two plays later, Los Alamitos quarterback Jack Telenko hooked up with Servite receiver Aaron Simpson (six catches for 95 yards) on a four-yard touchdown pass. Deeb kicked the PAT attempt wide left again, leaving his team with a 12-7 lead with 1:55 to go in the opening quarter.
The second quarter was won by the South, which produced two touchdowns and a field goal. The first was a four-yard bootleg to the right by Boudreau, who followed Spruill into the end zone six seconds into the second quarter.
The second touchdown by the South came after Frye dropped Telenko for a three-yard sack on third down. The sack marked the fourth of five first-half sacks by the South, which finished with nine sacks, five by Tesoro defensive end Chris Evagues.
The South took over on its 25-yard line with nine minutes left in the first half. The South fooled the North again.
Aliso Niguel quarterback Nick Chapman threw a lateral to Nickovich, who then launched a pass to wide-open Beckman receiver Demitrius Goods past midfield. The play turned out to be more than good, resulting in a 64-yard gain to the North 11.
After the Nickovich pass, Chapman completed his first pass. Helping Chapman’s cause was the cornerback falling down in the end zone, leaving Nickovich all alone to haul in a 10-yard touchdown.
The South went up, 21-12, with 7:28 to go before halftime, and it would add to its lead before the break.
Telenko had been accurate, completing eight of his first nine passes. His 10th pass went right to Donovan, who picked it off on the South’s 47 and raced 13 yards to give the South offense one more shot to score in the first half. Tesoro’s Hayden McGinnis converted a 39-yard field goal to put the South ahead, 24-12.
McGinnis was the Offensive MVP for finishing with a record-tying three field goals. His last, coming after the North made it a 27-20 game with less than eight minutes left, put the game away. McGinnis made a 43-yarder for a 30-20 lead with 2:50 remaining.
A couple of weeks before the game, Frye and Spruill said that McGinnis would be the reason why the South would prevail. They were right. McGinnis accounted for 13 of the South’s 37 points, allowing the South to claim the game’s 57th edition.
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