South all-star Austin Oberdorf told coach Andy Brown he would scored a touchdown if given the ball late Friday. North all-star Shakyil Murphy stood up at a pregame banquet Thursday and said he was the best defensive tackle there, while teammate Spencer Underdown envisioned intercepting his first scholastic pass.
All three players made good on their proclamations and goals during Friday's District 4 All-Star game at Rodney K. Morgans Stadium.
Oberdorf ran for a game-clinching, 4-yard touchdown, Murphy dominated the line of scrimmage and Underdown intercepted two passes. The South scored 13 fourth-quarter points and pulled away for a 29-12 victory but nearly everyone was feeling like a winner afterward.
"I've never been part of a football team like this," Oberdorf said. "Everybody here has a passion for football and that showed out here. I've made a lot of good friends with people I didn't even know before and I'm going to be staying friends with them for a long time."
"It was a pleasure playing with these guys and I wouldn't mind playing a whole season with them," said Murphy, who had five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. "We really came together. The defensive communication was good and even though we hadn't played together before we played like a real team."
Lewisburg's Cam Cassels threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns, including a go-ahead second-quarter 18-yarder to Tyler Pratt. The South never trailed after that, but the game was close almost the entire way before the South scored 13 straight points in the final 3 minutes, 4 seconds. Danville's Dylan Friday kicked two 41-yard fourth-quarter field goals before Pratt's interception set up the South deep in North territory.
That set the stage for Oberdorf. Warrior Run's all-time leading rusher bulled his way in from 4 yards out, breaking a tackle near the goal-line before plunging in for the game-clinching score.
"I told coach (Brown), 'give me the rock and I'll take it in,'" Oberdorf said. "I got a good push and put a little stutter-step on and went up the middle. It felt so good to get in because we all worked so hard all week and everything came together and we played good ball."
So did the North, especially on defense. That unit held the South's powerful offense to 237 yards. Murphy played like a man among boys, obliterating whoever was in front of him on a consistent basis.
Williamsport's standout defensive lineman made good on his pregame assessment all night, blowing up plays and a few times nearly taking the handoff from the opposing quarterback. In addition to having two sacks, Murphy stuffed inside runs and tackled Cassels in the end zone for a first-quarter safety after breaking up that play before it started. That put the North on the board and helped spark it early as it took a 9-7 lead following North Penn's Marquis Delgado's 11-yard touchdown run.
"After I said I was the best defensive tackle at the banquet I had to go extra hard," said Murphy, who will play at Lackawanna Community College in the fall. "I came out with some jitters but after the first play I got them out and blew up the middle. I got guys off of me and I went as hard as I could."
Underdown helped anchor the secondary and played terrific in his final football game. The Loyalsock safety intercepted two first-half passes and helped slow down the South offense after it opened with a two-play, 49-yard scoring drive capped by Cassels' 39-yard touchdown pass to Meyrick Lamb.
"In four years playing at Loyalsock I never got a pick so I really wanted to get one and two get two was special," said Underdown, who will attend West Virginia in the fall. "Just to be out here with these guys was an honor. It was a fun game to play in and I made a lot of new friends on both the North and South teams."
The South threatened to extend its lead going into halftime, but Williamsport's Anthony James and Underdown snuffed that out. James had good coverage on Jacob Kleman and deflected a pass in the end zone. Underdown was again in the right spot and made the catch, ending the drive and giving himself another lasting memory.
"A.J. did a nice job and made a great play and when he batted it, I was right there to make the catch," Underdown said. "We call all played well together and it seemed like everything came together."
Underdown's Loyalsock teammate Mike Kinney made a game-high eight tackles, while James had five tackles and two breakups.
South7 7 2 13-29
North9 0 3 0-12
S-Meyrick Lamb 39 pass from Cam Cassels (Dylan Friday kick), 9:58
N-Shakyil Murphy tackles Cassels in end zone for safety, 5:13
N-Marquis Delgado 11 run (Christian Clark kick), 3:43
S-Tyler Pratt 18 pass from Cassels (Friday kick), 11:01
N-Clark 30-yard field goal, 6:33
S-Cody Shustack tackles Dan Frankenfield in end zone for safety, 4:32
S-Friday 41-yard field goal, 11:54
S-Friday 41-yard field goal, 3:04
S-Austin Oberdorf 4 run (Friday kick), 2:09
TEAM STATISTICSS N
First downs13 10
Passing Yards167 43
RUSHING: South, Kyle Troutman 6-48; Austin Oberdorf 6-36, TD; Meyrick Lamb 6-16; Quentin Cooper 4-10; Tyrell Thomas 5-8; Tyler Pratt 1-(-1); Cam Cassels 4-(-21); Team 4 -(-26). North, Dan Frankenfield 14-80; Marquis Delgado 4-17, TD; Caleb Barnhart 4-16; Lucas Havens 5-8; Mike Kinney 2-6; Team 1-(-10).
PASSING: South, Cassels 7-13-3, 2 TDs, 150 yards; Pratt 1-1-0, 17 yards. North, Havens 3-12-1, 27 yards; Jacob Jones 2-5-1, 16 yards.
RECEIVING: South, Jacob Kleman 4-75; Lamb 1-39, TD; Pratt 1-18, TD; Troutman 1-18; Cooper 1-17. North, Michael Hall 2-17; Barnhart 1-19; Ryan Harer 1-4; Sam Taylor 1-3.
MISSED FIELD GOALS: Clark 30 yards, blocked
INTERCEPTIONS: South, Dylan Dievert, Pratt. North, Spencer Underdown 2, Mike Bostwick.