For the first time, after three previous failed attempts in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium, the North figured out a way to win over the South.
This time around, on Jan. 9, behind NFL veteran and coach Arlen Harris, the final result was 35-0 victory for the North. The team with players in the Class of 2016, quite simply, would not be denied.
Arizona commit J.J. Taylor played as big a role as any in the favorable result. The running back was named Offensive MVP for his efforts after picking up 194 total yards and scoring a touchdown.
Despite what appears to be a lopsided outcome, the game was relatively close. Jason Dambach found Javier Buffalo on a 64-yard touchdown pass to give the North a 7-0 advantage at the halftime break.
Behind an offensive line featuring Maryland commit Brian Plummer, Minnesota commit Conner Olson and Navy commit Sean Rattay, the North eventually wore down its counterparts from the South.
Also, Bowling Green commit Caleb Bright, Eastern Michigan commit Jacob Donnellon, Army commit Michael Gerber and ACC target Lorenzo Taborn deserve an acknowledgment for their efforts.
The South attempted to keep things close behind its quarterbacks, Clemson commit Zerrick Cooper and South Florida commit Chris Oladokun. In the end, however, the tandem could not lead a comeback.
Still, there was no shortage of talent on the South. Oregon State commit Artavis Pierce, ACC target Theo Anderson, SEC target Tyrek Tisdale and Alcorn State commit Darius Miller were notable names.
Taylor found the end zone on a 9-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to extend the lead for the North to 14-0. The momentum would only build from there. The South could never find an answer.
Without injured Western Michigan commit Tristian Pipp, the North linebackers were led by Navy commit DeLonte Berry, Illinois commit Tim Walton and Pac-12 Conference target Damon Wiley.
Kent State commit Matt Otwinowksi delivered one of the more memorable plays from the unit when he scored on a fumble recovery to give the South a 21-0 advantage toward the end of the third quarter.
Taylor was not the only contributor in the backfield of the North. Far from it. Big 10 Conference target Naeem Moore and Big Sky Conference target Isaiah Hall did well when given the opportunity.
Promising prospect Grant Kingston put the finishing touches on the win for the South. He scored on a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs toward the end of the fourth quarter for the final margin of victory.
Down in the trenches, on the offensive side for the South, North Carolina commit Tyler Pritchett, Air Force commit Zach Lyle and Conference USA target DeVonta Davidson did their respective jobs.
Colorado commit Craig Watts, and ACC targets Val Mayes and Khris Pam did well for the South. Air Force commit John Chiaramonte was a force, and that’s with Stanford commit Bo Peek largely limited.
All eyes were seemingly on ACC target Landon Holden at linebacker at the second level for the South. Nevertheless, rising recruit Robert Green took home the hardware as the Defensive MVP.
When Taylor was not having his way with the South defense, San Diego State commit Lucas Johnson did a good job of running the offense. Same thing can be said about Ivy League target Travis Lockhart.
Both quarterbacks benefited from having Nebraska commit Jack Stoll, Virginia commit Cole Blackman and Pac-12 Conference target Anselem Umeh in the mix. The receivers were unstoppable at times.
Also worth mentioning, ACC target Jelani Greene, American Athletic Conference target Khalif Sinclair and undervalued but still determined Hunter Smith were reliable options at receiver for the North.
West Virginia commit Reese Donahue nearly won Defensive MVP and North lineman peer ACC target Noel Brouse was a handful. Pac-12 Conference target Isaac Steele patrolled the secondary well.