North grinds out 21-7 victory over South in Bergen County Football All-Star Game
Through three quarters, the North were enjoying a comfortable 14-0 lead over the South in the Bergen County Football All Star Game at Lyndhurst High School. Sparked by a blocked punt from Paramus linebacker Robert Carmichael early in the first quarter that placed the ball inside the 10-yard line of the South, Dominic Pantania from Glen Rock snuck across the goal line for the touchdown.
In the second quarter, going for it on fourth and three at the South 38-yard line, Paramus Catholic running back Christian Byrd produced a highlight reel moment breaking through the line and sprinting down the left sidelines untouched for the score.
However, the momentum began to swing towards the South favor entering the fourth quarter. After a short punt that placed the ball at the 40-yard line, quarterback Michael Bolwell connected on a 23-yard pass to wide receiver Carlos Pepin from Lodi. A hard-hitting contest dissolved into a penalty fest as both teams’ engaged in several post play skirmishes that led to the South moving inside the 20-yard line. On second and eight at 11, Bowell lofted a perfect pass to Pepin in the end zone making it 14-7 with 10:06 remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff return, North started out with excellent field position at the South 36-yard line due to a personal foul assessed. Emotions kept boiling over on the following play with another personal foul called on the South defense. The North did not fare any better on their offensive series with a couple of false start penalties that backed them outside of the red zone.
Having dropped a pass on third down, Westwood linebacker Joe Kramer said afterwards he didn’t want to leave this game with any regrets.
“We didn’t end our regular season the way we wanted to so this was a good chance to end it on a good note,” said Kramer. “I knew we needed a little push and I had to step up. They had the momentum and we took it back.”
With teammate Sean Hopkins at quarterback, the Westwood connection worked some magic in their last game together. On fourth and 25 at the 28, Hopkins calmly stepped up the in the pocket and delivered a strike to Kramer in stride down the left sidelines for the touchdown and earning Kramer Offensive MVP of the game.
“Hopkins threw a perfect ball and I laid out and got it,” said Kramer. “He has been throwing the ball to me since freshman year, JV and Varsity, no better feeling catching from that kid to win the game and really put a ball on the money.”
After a dead-ball unsportsmanlike penalty summoned against the North, the South took advantage of the field position as running back Shawan Gresham from St. Mary returned the kickoff to the North’s 27-yard line. Once again, the North’s defense forced a turnover as Bolwell coughed up the ball and Ramapo nose guard Joe Mosca came up with the recovery icing the win and earning Mosca the Defensive MVP of the game.
Sunil Sunder Raj
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