Defense, as they say, wins championships. Never was that more evident than in a 14-13 victory for North over South in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 6 in a broadcast via ESPN3.
Make no mistake, many of the nation’s high-profile prospects from the Class of 2018 participated in this one. In the end, Toledo commit Cross Wilkinson scored on a quarterback sneak for the North, as time expired, to provide the final margin.
Prior to, NFL veteran Arlen Harris and his coaching staff for the North took advantage of a talented roster on the defensive side of the ball to keep things close on the scoreboard. It was only a matter of time before the offense delivered.
Pitt commit Noah Palmer dominated, seemingly whenever and wherever, for the North and was named Defensive MVP. Even with two sacks, three tackles and three quarterback hurries, he had help on the line of scrimmage, rest assured.
Temple commit Evan Boozer, Harvard commit Kyle Klink, Nevada commit Crishaun Lappin and Minnesota commit Jack Kern caused havoc for the North, from start to finish.
Army commit Cameron Hoelscher was in command at the second level for the North, with UTEP commit Cal Wallerstedt and Northern Arizona commit Larry Davis.
The North secondary was led by UCLA commit Kenny Churchwell, Illinois commit Delano Ware, Nevada commit Emany Johnson and Morgan State commit Eric Roy.
South Florida commit Johnny Ford did just about everything possible to win and his 14-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter gave the South a 10-7 lead.
He was named Offensive MVP and finished with 285 all-purpose yards, including 103 rushing yards, 69 receiving yards, 61 kickoff return yards and 52 punt return yards.
Georgia commit Drake Anderson, FIU commit Jacob Kaplan and Tennessee State commit Noah Shattuck opened up more than a few holes for the likes of Ford and his peers.
Equally well-rounded for the North, Towson commit D’Ago Hunter made a name for himself and likely earned an offer from the Tigers after his 189 all-purpose yards.
Worth mentioning on the North, Western Kentucky commit Kevaris Thomas and future teammate Western Kentucky commit Russell Brown displayed chemistry.
Minnesota commit Austin Beier, Southern Illinois commit Brett Groves, Valparaiso commit Aaron Byrd and Tennessee Tech commit Bryce Martin did well for the North.
On the other hand, for the South, specifically speaking on defense, South Florida commit Jordan Domineck opened eyes and had his name in the conversation for Defensive MVP.
Conference USA targets Gonzalez Fleriot, Miguel Rodriguez and Mychal Austin were disruptive down in the trenches for the South and made life difficult for the offense.
Samford commit Dorien Gooch patrolled the middle for the South as Kent State commit Jeremiah Salaam and Old Dominion commit Lance Boykin locked down on the corners.