CASTLETON — Saturday’s North-South All-Star Football Game was an extension of last weekend when Poultney, Brattleboro and Burr and Burton Academy gave the South all three state football championships. This time the all-stars from the southern part of the state walloped the North 47-9 behind an offensive outburst sparked by Brattleboro’s Tyler Millerick and Chad Frost and Burr and Burton’s Joey McCoy.
Millerick’s dual threat skills were on display at quarterback. He rushed for 85 yards and threw for 95 more in completing 8 of his 14 passes. McCoy threw for 81 yards and Frost complemented the aerial attack with 127 yards on 15 carries.
The North offense was stuck in neutral much of the day but St. Johnsbury quarterback Trey Alercio did complete 11 of 20 passes for 175 yards.
It ended a five-year winning streak by the North which still leads the series 11-8.
Fair Haven defensive back Andrew Lanthier said the South used the North’s winning streak as motivation.
“At the end and the start of every practice we talked about that,” Lanthier said.
The teams only had a few practices to prepare and Lanthier said the South team made good use of them.
“We focused all during our four days of practice. Every day we worked hard. It didn’t matter that the snow was up to our ankles, we got the job done,” Lanthier said.
The South practiced on Rutland’s snow covered Alumni Field but Castleton’s University’s Dave Wolk Stadium’s turf had been cleared and the South made good use of the fast track, getting out to a 13-0 lead before the game was seven minutes old.
Millerick tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Bellows Falls’ Dylan Clark and Oxbow’s Jace Page scored another touchdown after scooping up a fumble. Page then drilled the PAT and score was 13-0 with 8:26 still left in the opening quarter.
Middlebury’s Ian Ploof scooped up another fumble and dashed 80 yards to a third score to extend the lead to 20-0 10:05 before the half.
Alercio and Cale Layman hooked up for a 10-yard TD to make it 20-7 with Alercio kicking the point.
The North had just gotten back into the game so the next score was a back-breaker because it came with only 12 seconds to play in the half. Millerick and Rutland’s Malik Hendrickson struck for the touchdown pass that pushed the halftime score to 27-7.
Millerick legged it in from 10 yards out after he set up his own scoring run with a long completion to Clark. Page made the point and with a 34-7 deficit with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter, the North had a big mountain to climb.
Millerick’s 38-yard touchdown run put it out of reach and a 40-yard strike from McCoy to Middlebury’s Tyler Buxton completed the scoring.
It was a rout, but there was the feeling among even many of the North’s players that the friendships formed during the week of practices with players from other schools was still well worth it.
“It was awesome,” said the North’s Carter Pelzel, the North’s 6-foot-4 wide receiver from U-32. “There are kids across from you at the line of scrimmage during the season and you don’t even talk to them and now they are your teammates. I loved it.”
The South defensive line made things uncomfortable for both North quarterbacks, Alercio and Spaudling’s Jackson Pierson, racking up six sacks.
The North was not able to get any traction on the ground, either. They were held to 50 yards rushing.
The North did have the edge in passing yardage, 236-114 but the South had 340 totals yards to 286 for the North.
The big bugaboo for the North was turnovers.
Middledbury’s Thatcher Trudeau spearheaded the South defense. He was in on six tackles and had two tackles for a loss.
Page and Ploof also keyed the defense with the fumble recoveries they turned into scores.
The South also picked off three passes with Lanthier, Windsor’s Caleb Meagher and Springfield’s Noah Zierfus doing the honors.
BFA-Fairfax’s Patrick Roling led the North defense with six tackles and Mount Mansfield’s Mason Combs added an interception.
Hendrickson showed his speed not only on his touchdown reception but on a long run from scrimmage.
“That felt good,” he said of his big gainer.
Hendrickson said it was not difficult to keep the intensity up after coming out with the big halftime lead.
“This is a whole different experience. It’s easy to stay excited around these guys,” said Hendrickson who also served as the South’s return man.
“We wanted to show the South was the best,” said Rutland’s Garrett Davine, who had two of the sacks.