Back to back: North earns second straight win in Tri-County All-Star game

By on May 31, 2017
South All-Star team QB Tyler Trimarchi, of Warwick, rolls out to his left while being chased by North All-Star defensive end Gunnar Royer, of Manheim Central, during last Saturday’s game in Manheim. Photo by Dwight Palm

South All-Star team QB Tyler Trimarchi, of Warwick, rolls out to his left while being chased by North All-Star defensive end Gunnar Royer, of Manheim Central, during last Saturday’s game in Manheim. Photo by Dwight Palm

Last fall, Mannheim Central quarterback Kody Kegarise and his teammates had a common mission.

“I said to the guys, ‘The main goal is to end the season on a win,’” Kegarise recalled, “and the only way you can do that is to win States.”

The Barons made a nice run at it, but fell to Harrisburg in the District Three 5A championship game.

But Kegarise and seven of his MC ‘mates got the chance to play one more game on the Elden Rettew Stadium turf last Saturday night and they helped the North squad pull out a 14-7 victory over the South in the 16th annual Tri-County All-Star Football Game in Manheim.

Including a 34-31 win in last year’s game, the North evened the all-time series against the South, 8-8.

Joining Kegarise from the Barons were running back Jay Barreto, wide receiver Austin Geib, linebackers Nick Brown and Tyler Lutz, tight end/defensive end Gunnar Royer, and lineman Adam Kline and Elliot Martin.

“Nick Brown turned to me and said, ‘Hey, we just ended the season on a win.’ I laughed and said, ‘We sure did,’” Kegarise recalled. “It feels good.”

The 21 combined points in the game ties the 2010 game — which also resulted in a 14-7 win by the North — for the lowest-scoring contest in Tri-County All-Star Game history.

“Not quite like the NBA,” quipped South team kicker/punter Will Mobley, one of four Warwick players on the field, including lineman Tyler Borg, linebacker Tyler Gerhart, and QB Tyler Trimarchi.

“We were a little disappointed. I would have liked to put up, like, 56 or something, but seven will have to do,” smiled Trimarchi, who was 7-14-0 for 132 yards and a TD through the air, while rushing 14 times for 35 yards.

Defense ruled the day, as the North (coached by Elizabethtown’s Bill McDonald) and South (coached by Conestoga Valley’s Gerad Novak) combined for 441 total offensive yards while punting seven times.

“(Manheim Central) coach (Dave) Hahn said he hasn’t seen (Brown and Lutz) hitting harder than they did tonight,” Kegarise said. “It was the best of the best out here, what do you expect? Everyone did great.”

The outcome was still in doubt to the very end. Trailing 14-7, the South got the ball back on their own 36 with 7:37 to go, and Trimarchi hit Lampeter-Strasburg’s Chad Gaudino for 15, then scrambled 16 yards to move the chains to the North’s 30 and then connected with CV’s Connor Brinton for a 20-yard gain.

Two plays later, Wilson’s Brian Wright hauled in an 11-yard pass from Trimarchi in the right corner of the end zone, but he was ruled just inches out of bounds.

Trimarchi disagreed.

“(Wright) was absolutely in,” he said.

“We’ve got to get instant replay on that one,” Mobley smiled.

When the drive stalled, Mobley lined up for a 27-yard field goal attempt, looking to erase the memory of a 27-yard miss in the second quarter. But the South got new life on a North offsides penalty, giving them a first down at the 5. On the next play, Trimarchi appeared to fire a TD pass to Lampeter-Strasburg’s Shane Lawler, but a South holding penalty wiped out the score.

Eventually, with the South facing a fourth-and-goal from the 14-yard line, Trimarchi dropped back to pass, was forced out of the pocket and tucked the ball while heading for the right sideline, but he was stopped short of the goal line and that was the ball game.

“I was trying to look for (Garden Spot’s) Mack Focht — he ran a post and I kinda lost my eyesight with him. I saw like three or four guys in blue uniforms coming at me and I think that was enough to scare me out of looking at Mack,” Trimarchi said. “I thought (Focht) was my best read and that he’d be open in the middle of the field. It’s too bad we didn’t get that one.”

In the first half, the game remained scoreless as Ephrata’s Alex Rummel missed a 35-yard field goal attempt on the North’s opening drive, and then later, Mobley was wide right on a 27-yard try.

“It was a great hold by Tyler, but I didn’t follow through the entire way,” Mobley said. “It cut myself short and it ended up going right. It barely missed, but it was my fault.”

On the South’s next series, Trimarchi extended a play and then connected with Wright on a 35-yard pass on the right sideline. A short time later, Garden Spot’s Joe Craver grabbed a 24-yard TD pass from Trimarchi and Mobley added the PAT to break the ice, making it 7-0 with 2:01 left in the half.

“I told Joe Craver, ‘If I’m scrambling to your side, I want you to turn up the sideline and go deep and I’ll try to get one to you,’” Trimarchi recalled. “On that play, that’s exactly what he did and I just scrambled right and I found him in the end zone and he made a great play.”

It didn’t take the North long to respond, however. Barreto, who had a game-high 45 rushing yards on 11 carries, broke off a 13-yard run. Later, ELCO QB Kyle Knight found Royer (3-35 receiving) for a 21-yard TD pass. After Rummel kicked the PAT, the score was tied 7-all with 1:13 to go in the half.

Kegarise (7-24 rushing, 3-9-1 22 yards passing) and the North squad then received the second-half kickoff and went right to work. The Barons’ signal-caller got things started by sprinting for gains of 13 and 10 yards right out of the gate, then dumped a pass to Barreto, who gained 13.

“I always get more warmed up (in the second half), especially just seeing the score,” Kegarise said. “I felt comfortable. I know their D-ends were getting up field every time, so they were trying to keep us inside. But I was able to get the edge a couple of times, definitely on sprint outs. I think the line did a great job tonight too.”

On first-and-goal from the doorstep, ELCO fullback Tyler Horst barreled in for a two-yard TD run. Rummel’s PAT put the North up 14-7 with 3:30 elapsed in the third.

“I handed it to (Horst),” Kegarise recalled, “and turned around and I just saw one lone guy. I don’t know if he was a secondary guy, he looked kinda smaller, and I was like, ‘That’s a touchdown.’”

Meanwhile, the South, which held a 9-6 edge in first downs in the first half, moved the chains just three times on their opening three possessions of the second half.

“It was a defensive game tonight, to be honest,” Kegarise said. “Those guys were flying around.”

In the closing minutes, the North made one final defensive stand to nail down the victory.

“It was a great experience,” Mobley said. “It was definitely different playing in the spring time, but it was a lot of fun just to meet kids from different schools and compete with them. Great experience.”

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