At the start, it looked like Friday night's second annual Chesapeake Bowl All-Star football game wasn't going to be a typical All-Star football game with the defenses leading the way.
With each team returning kickoffs for touchdowns before either offense stepped on the field, it looked like the game was going to be a high scoring affair at South River High School in Edgewater, Maryland.
By the time the crowd had watched the North squad take a 21-7 lead over the South stars in the first 12 minutes, many thought they were going to see a repeat of last year's offensive game won by the South, 30-27.
However, after the first 12 minutes, things returned to normal with both defenses stepping up, and the North holding on to win 28-17.
The contest itself, nicknamed "The Civil War," pitted senior high school football stars from Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC and West Virginia (South All-Stars) against a North team made up of players from Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The game began with a bang when the North's Nate Smith (Archbishop Wood HS - PA) returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a score. Not to be outdone, Ronald Darby (Potomac HS - MD) answered with a 77-yard return of his own to tie the game at 7-7.
The rest of the first quarter featured two teammates from Pittsburgh Central Catholic (PA), who have given their verbal commitments to playing their college ball at the University of Maryland next year.
Quarterback Perry Hills ran for 82 yards and threw for a touchdown in the first quarter to stake the North squad to a 21-7 lead. Hills' teammate Anthony Nixon set up the first offensive touchdown when he picked off a pass and returned it to the South's 28-yard line.
The pick led to a five-yard touchdown run by Sharif Smith (Furness HS - PA) and a 14-7 North lead. Quarterback Josh Weakland (State College HS - PA) extended the lead to 21-7 with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Ray Cathie (Imani Christian - PA).
Late in the first half, Weakland hooked up with Bruce Mapp (West Catholic HS - PA) on a 61-yard touchdown that gave the North a 28-10 halftime lead.
Aside from Darby's kickoff return, the South's only other first half score came on a 37-yard field goal by Austin Grebe (North Stafford HS - VA).
After a scoreless third quarter, the South tried to mount a comeback. They cut the lead to 28-17 with 13:01 to go in the game when Ben Onett (St. John's - DC) threw a 65-yard touchdown strike to Wes Brown (Good Counsel - MD).
However, after that, the North squad used a strong ground game to run out the clock and take the victory.
Smith, who has given his verbal to West Virginia, was named the game's MVP.
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