By Matt Williams
---- — LYNN — Recently graduated Swampscott quarterback Brian Santry got used to making plays under pressure for the Big Blue last fall.
Last night in the 52nd Agganis Football Classic at Manning Field, he made a few more.
Santry led the South on an 80-yard fourth quarter scoring drive capped by a 35-yard touchdown pass to Revere’s Kyle Gotham to help his team defeat the North, 13-7.
North kicker Jake Cawlina of Danvers missed a 30-yard field goal in windy, misty conditions that could have given his team the lead with 6:41 to play; Santry (game high 153 yards passing) took over at his own 20 and directed the drive that essentially put the game away.
“Football is all about momentum changes and we have a couple of them,” said Santry, who was named South MVP. “We had a very aggressive defense and that kind of sparked out offense.”
North had two chances to tie it in the last 2:08, but lost a fumble after Bishop Fenwick’s Fran Hannon found Pentucket’s Cody Rothwell for a 34-yard gain. South went three-and-out but Saugus’ Tommy Trainor intercepted Pingree’s Jerome Cappadona with 1:03 left to seal the win for his team.
It was the third turnover of the game for North, which also fumbled going into the end zone with a 6-0 lead late in the first half.
“They made plays and we made fumbles. You can’t turn it over and win in this kind of game,” said North coach Jim O’Leary of St. John’s Prep. “But it wasn’t for lack of effort. The kids were outstanding, they did everything we asked of them all week and it was a wonderful group.”
St. John’s Prep’s Alex Moore was named MVP for the North after he amassed 107 total yards. He ran six times for 32 yards and moved the chains in the air with three catches for 85 yards, including a 16-yard grab that set up Cristian Rivera’s 4-yard TD in the second. North missed the extra point and led 6-0 in the second.
Moore came up with a 32-yard grab that gave North first and goal at the one, but teammate Tucker Mathers fumbled and Evertt’s Jepthe Soulouque recovered.
“That would’ve been huge for them to go in to halftime up by two scores,” said Lynnfield’s Neil Weidman, the South head coach. “It was fun coaching in this game. I didn’t know what to expect and the kids were super. They were all team guys.”
South took the lead early in the second half, as Ryan Maney returned the opening kick 65 yards for a short field. Beverly’s Kenny Pierce then dove into the end zone from a yard away and Northeast Tech’s Alejandro Arrano hit the extra point to make it 7-6.
North outgained South 327-249 and had more first downs, but South came up with the key turnovers to win the lowest scoring Agganis Football Classic since 1992.
There were no shortage of contributors on either side as both coaching staffs did an excellent job making sure every all-star had an opportunity to shine. South used four quarterbacks who completed passes to seven receivers and eight ballcarriers.
“Brian looked like he was on, like he had his rhythm going, so we decided to stick with him there,” Weidman said of calling Santry’s number on the scoring drive.
North used eight rushers, four QBs including Hannon (2-for-2. 60 yards), though the superb Moore and Rothweol (seven catches, 83 yards) were the only receivers.
“There were a lot of subs and everything, but the guys were all great,” said Santry, who didn’t look rusty at all coming in for his scoring drive. “The line gave us a ton of time and that’s what made it easy — that and the receivers being out there with height and speed.”
Santry’s TD pass to rival Gotham was a double-pump fake the Revere received surely saw on film when the Patriots played the Big Blue. Playing with rivals like Pierce and Marblehead’s Ian Maag, among others, was fun for the South MVP.
“It’s been great playing with guys you’ve been watching on film, studying against for hours and hours,” said Santry. “We all came together pretty nicely.”
Salem Christian Dunston had a 24-yard reception for the South and Jared Louf-Woods had a monstrous sack to shut down a North drive.
For North, Mathers had one-and-a-half sacks and the Prep’s Lucas Bavaro had a couple of solid tackles. Danvers’ Alex Grant and Masco’s John Tivinis did a nice job blocking from the fullback spot. North was also hurt by nine penalties, including four false starts.
And in a nice moment, Peabody’s Tyler O’Shea, the representative for a Tanner team that didn’t win a game last fall, experienced victory in his final high school football game playing for the South.
“It’s the Agganis game. It’s important to the North Shore and I thought even with bad weather we had a great crowd,” said O’Leary. “The Foundation does a lot of wonderful things with kids and it’s an honor to be part of it.”
agateHed:52nd Agganis Football Classic
South 13, North 6
agate_boldCentered:at Manning Field, Lynn
agate_lineQuarters:North 0 6 0 0 — 6
agate_lineQuarters:South 0 0 7 6 — 13
agateText:N- Cristian Rivera 4 run (kick failed)
S- Kenny Pierce 1 run (Alejandro Arrano kick)
S- Kyle Gotham 35 pass from Brian Santry (kick failed)
agateText:RUSHING: North — Cristian Rivera 15-63, Alex Moore 6-32, Cody Rothwell 5-26, Cory Burnham 3-16, Nick Oswald 3-8, Fran Hannon 1-8, Tucker Mathers 2-0, Tommy Morgan 6-(-4); South — Jake Martino 3-26, Kenny Calaj 5-22, Jacob Duffrene 3-13, Kenny Pierce 5-10, Michael Karavestos 2-9, Ian Maag 6-8, Joe Ritchie 1-6, Brian Santry 3-(-1).
agateText:PASSING: North — Hannon 2-2-60-0-0, Burnham 2-7-49-0-0, Morgan 4-8-48-0-0, Cappadona 2-4-21-0-1; South — Santry 6-10-153-1-1, Martino 2-4-2-0-0, Karavestos 0-2-0-0-0, Maag 0-3-0-0-0.
agateText:RECEIVING: North — Moore 3-85, Rothwell 7-83; South — Kyle Gotham 1-35, Josh Batista 2-33, Calaj 1-30, Mark Horgan 1-25, Christian Dunston 1-24, Pierce 1-7, Ryan Maney 1-1.