North prevails 34-31 in 15th Tri-County All-Star Game

By on June 1, 2016

 

Representing Manheim Central’s football team at last Saturday’s Tri-County All-Star Game were (front row, left to right) Damon Camacho, Kevin Starner, head coach Dave Hahn, DaShaun Neville, and Derek Adams; (back, l-r) coach Wes Geib, coach Tom Waranavage, Drew Eshleman, coach Mike Williams, Gavin Guyer, coach Frank Barton, and Sam Martin.

Representing Manheim Central’s football team at last Saturday’s Tri-County All-Star Game were (front row, left to right) Damon Camacho, Kevin Starner, head coach Dave Hahn, DaShaun Neville, and Derek Adams; (back, l-r) coach Wes Geib, coach Tom Waranavage, Drew Eshleman, coach Mike Williams, Gavin Guyer, coach Frank Barton, and Sam Martin.

Drew Eshleman’s initial thought was to be aware of a post pattern, which the South squad had been executing all night.

Then as the Manheim Central senior defensive back was dropping back into coverage, he noticed a receiver trying to slip behind him.

At that point, Eshleman’s instincts took over.

“On the left side, (a wideout) did something off a fade, which I knew I couldn’t get to,” he said. “So I just kinda looked right, saw him coming behind me, and just tried to step in front of it.”

His INT off of Lampeter-Strasburg QB Collin ‘Bear’ Shank with less than a minute left effectively put the finishing touches on the Manheim Touchdown Club’s 15th annual Tri-County All-Star football game last Saturday, as the North squad completed a come-from-behind 34-31 win over the South at Manheim’s Elden Rettew Field.

Seniors Colin Gibble (left) and Preston Forney (right) represented Warwick in the Manheim Touchdown Club’s 15th annual Tri-County All-Star Game last Saturday. (Photo by Bruce Morgan)

Seniors Colin Gibble (left) and Preston Forney (right) represented Warwick in the Manheim Touchdown Club’s 15th annual Tri-County All-Star Game last Saturday. (Photo by Bruce Morgan)

Hempfield QB Sam Kramer ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, Manheim Township’s John Stutz had a game-high seven receptions for 139 yards, Manheim Central’s Derek Adams kicked two field goals and ELCO signal-caller Jeff Martin was 12-for-19 for 189 yards, as the North rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half.

“I don’t plan on playing in college or anything, so this really feels great. It’s really an honor and a blessing to just to come back and do this one last time, especially with my buddies,” said Eshleman, who was joined by Baron teammates Adams, RB Damon Camacho, DB Gavin Guyer, LB Kevin Starner, OT DaShaun Neville, and DE Sam Martin. “I know there’s a few of us not really planning on playing anymore football, so it was just really fun and a huge blessing.”

Wide receiver Colin Gibble and defensive tackle Preston Forney played their final high school game representing Warwick.

“It was a fun, high-scoring game,” said Gibble, a Kutztown University recruit.

“It was pretty awesome,” said Forney, who plans to continue his career at Thaddeus Stevens, “pretty amazing to play with all these other All-Stars, and really cool to have Colin on the team as well. It was just really cool to end high school right here under the lights.”

The North, coached by Lancaster Catholic’s Bruce Harbach, appeared to open the scoring on its first drive of the game, but a penalty wiped out Martin’s 47-yard TD pass to Camacho. They eventually turned the ball over on downs at the South’s 31-yard line, and then Penn Manor’s Carter Kinser (3-34 rushing) scored on a three-yard run off tackle, and Donegal’s Austin Dimeler added the PAT, making it 7-0 with 4:08 left in the first.

Camacho (14-42 rushing) then carried twice for 18 yards to help set up a 40-yard field goal by Adams, a Kent State recruit, with just :53 left in the first quarter, cutting the South’s lead to 7-3.

Shank (7-14-2, 146 yards) then went to work for the South, hitting Pequea Valley’s Chad Mullen (4-87 receiving) for a 34-yard gain. On the next play, Gibble had a 27-yard TD pass in his hands, but couldn’t pull it in.

“I just dropped it, I don’t know,” Gibble said afterward.

Later, though, on the fifth play of the second quarter, the South extended their lead to 13-3 on a Shank-to-Mullen 29-yard strike.

With the North knocking on the door on its next drive, Cocalico’s Abdul Saad recovered a fumble by Kramer at the South’s 3.

But when Kurt Harnish returned a Shank INT 15 yards to paydirt with 3:48 left in the half, followed by Adams’ PAT, the North climbed back to 13-10.

Solanco’s Noah McCardell then put his talents on display, darting 59 yards for a first-and-goal, and then rolling left and finding L-S 6-foot-5 tight end for a one-yard TD pass, putting the North in front 19-10 at the break.

“Going in at halftime, there was so much confidence,” Forney said.

That confidence for the South, coached by Solanco’s Anthony Cox, only grew as Garden Spot’s Daryl Hartman returned a punt 45 yards. Then the Shank-to-Mullen connection struck again, this time for 15 yards to put the South up 25-10 with 4:44 left in the third.

“Obviously, (Shank)’s an outstanding player, good leader too,” Forney said. “It was just really cool to have him on the team.”

The North answered when Kramer found Wyatt Miller in the right corner of the end zone with 2:17 remaining in the third, and then Adams’ 37-yard field goal with just 2:09 elapsed in the fourth got their team to 25-20.

Kinser’s second TD run of the night, this time for 26 yards, pushed the South’s advantage to 31-20 at the 6:13 mark.

Next, Kramer scored on a one-yard run around right end, as the North pulled back to 31-26. The TD was set up by a Martin-to-Stutz 49-yard hookup on the right sideline.

“Coming in, we knew Stutz was a big threat, really quick off the line,” Eshleman said. “I had to cover him a couple times this week and he’s just a pain to cover. So we knew he would definitely be a big threat.”

Combining the arm of Martin and the legs of Kramer, the North drove 51 yards on its next drive and took the lead on Kramer’s three-yard TD run up the gut. Martin then passed to Stutz for the two-point conversion to make it 34-31 with 1:09 left.

“I think we came out alright (in the second half),” Forney said, “but I think they just came out with more intensity than us. We kinda started to fall apart a little bit and made some mistakes.”

Moments later, Eshleman stepped up with his big pick and the North ran out the clock.

“I knew no matter what happened that this one last game on the field would just be a lot of fun,” Eshleman said. “I don’t know how many points we were down, but just coming back with that win, it means everything. It was so much fun.”

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