There was a time, not long ago in fact, when it was a relatively one-sided affair during the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium. Time have changed, however.
After losing three-in-a-row to start the rivalry, and now for the third time in as many years, North defeated South, this time 20-12 in a game on Jan. 5 that featured the country’s top prospects in the Class of 2019.
NFL veteran, turned coach Arlen Harris and his staff put their team in position to win against one-time NFL assistant, turned coach George Martinez. The action was nationally broadcast on ESPN3, as well.
Grayson McCall proved to be the difference in the outcome for the North. A Coastal Carolina commit, the 6-foot-3 and 205-pound quarterback was named Offensive MVP for his efforts from start to finish.
He scored on an 11-yard run to extend a first quarter lead to 10-3 with 13 minutes left. Then, directing another drive, Christopher Houston scored on an 10-yard run to increase the advantage to 17-3 at the half.
The South never recovered as Holy Cross commit Chris Butash connected with Sun Belt Conference target David Baros on a 5-yard touchdown pass with 13 minutes left in the third quarter for the final margin.
There was no shortage of firepower on offense for the North. Cincinnati commit Cameron Jones and James Madison commit Jacob Knight rotated with McCall and both were in control of the offense.
A good offensive line on the North certainly didn’t hurt matters, led by Pac-12 Conference target Clayton Ingram, Penn commit Ben Hoitink, South Dakota commit Joey Lombard and Ohio commit Jay Amburgey.
Sun Belt Conference target Justin Fomby and Conference USA target DaQuan Vinson were under center for the South as Air Force commit Tyler Brown was alongside the tandem in an often times effective role.
South Carolina commit Traevon Kenion was seemingly unstoppable, particularly when the South hoped to mount a rally late. Also worth mentioning, his name was in the conversation for Offensive MVP.
American Athletic Conference targets Christian Helms and C.J. Hayden, along with Conference USA target C.J. Martin of the South built up a good rapport with the likes of Butash, Fomby and Vinson.
Down in the trenches for the South, Coastal Carolina commit Will McDonald, American Athletic Conference target Joseph Stone, along with Conference USA targets Ricky Tamis and Silas Little opened eyes.
On the defensive side of the ball for the South, Clemson commit Etinosa Reuben was without peer throughout. He was on a different level than most and nearly took home honors as Defensive MVP.
Vanderbilt commit Justin Harris made a timely play, with an interception in the second half for the South, and Ohio Valley Conference target Damon Harris deserved an acknowledgement, too.
UT-Martin commit Hunter May was difficult to deal with on the South, same goes for American Athletic Conference target Bryce Mullenix and Sun Belt Conference target Jontrell Wells.
Indiana State commit Christian Hastings, Butler commit Jamey Deckard, Miami (Ohio) commit Austin Ertl and Mid-American Conference (MAC) target Kwauve Booker garnered attention for the North.
Speaking of causing problems, with the focus on Pitt commit Bryce Nelms of the North, Missouri Valley Football Conference targets Jamal Jones and Defensive MVP Eldridge Dockery turned heads.
Colonial Athletic Association targets, also brothers Makhel and Lavell Henry were pleasant surprises on the North. Same thing can be said about Missouri Valley Football Conference target Arcullous Heard.