South Prevails in Shriner's Football Classic, 15-12
A pair of Wilmington players were among those to take the field of Gillette Stadium.
Maybe the final score didn't turn out the way they would have wanted, but playing football on a June night on the gridiron made famous by the likes of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, et al, wasn't a bad way to end a high school football career.
The South All Stars topped the North All Stars, 15-12, in the 34th annual Shriner's Football Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro Friday night.
Among the members of the North roster was a pair of Wilmington residents. Wilmington High School standout linebacker and 1,000-yard runner John Parsons joined Malden Catholic defensive lineman Scott Layton, also a Wilmington resident.
Parson's presence in the defensive backfield didn't go unnoticed. He was named the top defensive player of the game for North.
It was a surprisingly crisp and competitive game, considering that the players have only practiced together a handful of times and hadn't donned their football gear since--at the latest--last December.
The North took a 6-0 lead when John DiBiaso connected with Burlington's Kyle Shields on a three-yard pass play. The missed extra point, however, was no good for the North.
The South came right back, sparked by two long pass plays engineered by Dennis-Yarmouth's Matt Montaldo: a 45-yard connection to BC High's Gordon MacLeod, then a 40-yard TD strike to Rhett Davis of Franklin. The South went up 8-6 with a two-point conversion.
The South took a 15-6 halftime lead on Charles Ruffin's (King Phillip HS) one yard run in the final minute. The North grinded its way back into the game in the third quarter behind the power running of Concord-Carlisle running back George Crann, the North's Offensive Player of the Game, who scored on a short run. But the point-after attempts failed again.
The North had its chances in the fourth quarter but turned the ball over on downs in the Red Zone with just over two minutes left. They got the ball back, however, on a South fumble, but the South defense stiffened, sacking DiBiaso twice.
The game marked the 34th renewal of the classic, which features 100 of the state's top high school football players, many of whom will embark on their college careers in the fall. The game is sponsored by the Aleppo Shriners of Massachusetts in cooperation with the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association. All proceeds from the game are donated to the Shriners Hospital in Boston.
Shriners is an international fraternity of approximately 500,000 members throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and Panama. A network of 22 hospitals provides expert, no-cost orthopedic and burn care to children under 18. For 75 years, the Shrine has operated a network of specialized hospitals that treat children with orthopedic problems, burns and spinal cord injuries, up to their 18th birthday, free of charge.