SANDY — Seven months after the conclusion of the Utah high school football season, 52 of this past year's top seniors suited up one last time at Alta High School for the 5A/4A all-star game.
As expected, rustiness and unfamiliarity complicated the action. There were more than 10 combined turnovers, but after Jordan’s Jerome Bettis Vaituu picked off a telegraphed pass and went untouched for a pick-six, the South topped the North, 33-19.
For three quarters the North dictated the pace and the scoreboard against the outmanned South squad, as the North held a 33-19 advantage in roster size. The South resiliently battled back after several lost opportunities and eventually took its first lead, 17-12, when former Timpview quarterback and Snow College commit Jake Lloyd found former teammate and Utah State commit Dax Raymond on a corner fade.
On the following possession the North coughed up the ball on a routine middle screen, but ultimately escaped unscathed after the South’s field goal attempt sailed wide. However, former Logan quarterback and Washington State commit Luke Falk promptly threw an errant pass. The South didn’t hesitate to capitalize, using another Timpview touchdown connection. This time Lloyd found Gregson Aspinall on a slip screen for a 24-12 lead with 10:27 remaining.
The North pulled within five, 24-19, with a short corner fade, but the South returned the following kickoff to the 15-yard line to tack on three more for a 27-19 cushion with 6:17 in regulation.
Vaituu's pick-six later sealed the win.
In the first quarter, the North came out operating in an up-tempo, pass-heavy scheme behind Falk, who ran virtually the same spread he did during his time with the Grizzlies. Falk completed 6 of 8 pass attempts on the opening drive that culminated with a 28-yard field goal for an early 3-0 lead.
The South strung together a well-oiled response during the ensuing possession. Lloyd hit Raymond on a fade route, and at 6 foot 6, he won the 50-50 ball to position the South deep into the North territory.
Two plays later, Lloyd evaded blindside pressure and scampered out of the pocket. With an opportunity to score, Lloyd extended toward the goal line but lost control after a jarring hit. It was the first of four turnovers for the South, including two red-zone miscues.
After former Mountain Crest and soon-to-be Weber State running back Eddy Hall connected with Logan’s Jesse Braddy on a fake punt, the North methodically marched into scoring range before Kearns’ James Felila galloped in for six on a toss sweep with 2:45 remaining in the first half.
The South dipped into the deficit with a late touchdown connection from Lloyd to former Pleasant Grove and Weber State receiver Skyler Munson.
With a two-point advantage, Falk orchestrated another scoring drive on the opening possession in the third quarter. Working quickly from the shotgun, Falk dissected the zone defense before the drive ended with another field goal for a 12-7 lead. The South reeled off 17 unanswered shortly thereafter.
1A/2A All-Stars 20, 3A All-Stars 12: The small schools upended the larger schools once again. The 1A/2A combined all-stars jumped out to an early 6-0 lead with 5:43 in the first quarter, exchanged scores with the 3A all-stars and ultimately preserved their victory with a fourth-down conversion.
The game was marred by a short-lived brawl that coaches flooded by pulling players away from one another as helmets flew in frustration.
The 3A squad knotted things at 6-6 with 4:09 left in the second when Spanish Fork’s Colton Olson snagged a jump ball at the 9-yard line and scooted into the end zone untouched. Shortly after, 3A captured its first lead after another Don, Cam Money, beat his defender down the sideline before stepping out at the 7. Two plays later 3A pounded into the end zone off a zone read.
Because kickers weren’t available, both teams were required to attempt two-point conversions.
After that, 1A/2A reeled off 14 unanswered points to pull off the upset.