CHOWCHILLA -- With one play the South's Josh Williams and Sean Stell sent the North team home unhappy.
Stell dropped back and sailed a pass deep down the right sideline where Williams out fought Los Banos' Jalen Bourbon for the ball. Williams then took off, scoring on the 90-yard touchdown catch with just under 3 minutes left in the game as the South walked away with a 17-10 win in the 26th annual Rotary North/South All-Star Football Game on Friday night in front of a large crowd at Chowchilla High.
The North had a shot to pull even on its final drive.
Merced High's Nick Zamora came up big late, keeping the drive alive with three catches for 30 yards. Buhach Colony's Jarrell Davis also hauled in a catch for 14 yards.
The North drove inside the South's 10-yard line with 40 seconds left in the game after the South was called for pass interference in the end zone on a throw intended for Zamora.
However, on the next play Patterson quarterback Cody Weinzheimer rolled out to his right and tried to throw the ball away, but Hoover's Tevin Ivy intercepted the pass to end the North's threat.
The North appeared to have the game put away.
Buhach Colonhy's Tanner Gleason kicked a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter to give the North an early 3-0 lead.
A bad snap on a punt resulted in a safety for the South to cut the lead to 3-2. Then Stell found Conor Monis for a 17-yard pass to give the South a 9-3 lead at the half.
The North defense shut down the South offense for almost the entire second half until the big pass play.
Meanwhile, Merced's Rudy Monteon gave the North a boost with his legs.
The Bears quarterback broke free for a 37-yard run in the first quarter. In the third quarter he scrambled out of the pocket and saw an opening on the left side for a 14-yard touchdown run that gave the North a 10-9 lead with 6:58 left in the third quarter.
"I was looking for an open receiver," Monteon said. "After the pocket collapsed on the right side, I looked left and saw the end zone. I saw nothing but green grass."
Davis had one of the more exciting plays of the night when he scooped up a short bouncing punt on the run and returned the ball 55 yards down to the South's 10-yard line.
"I returned a punt like that for a touchdown during the season against Golden Valley," Davis said. "I noticed on the punts they were paying attention to me and not the ball. I told our guys I was going to take one back. The bounce was perfect. I picked it up on a quick jog. I thought I was going to score."
The North failed to capitalize on the big play when Gleason missed a 27-yard field goal.
The North looked like it was going to put the game away midway through the fourth quarter with a deep drive into South territory, but Davis fumbled after a 20-yard run to set up the big pass play for the South.
There wasn't much offense in the game with both defenses dominating.
Zamora finished with five catches for 71 yards and Monteon finished with 51 yards on five carries to lead the North.
Williams led the South with 168 yards on seven receptions. Stall only completed 6 of 19 passes for 214 yards.
South 0 9 0 8 -- 17
North 3 0 7 0 -- 10
N - Tanner Gleason 35 FG
S -- Safety (Snap out of end zone)
S -- Conor Monis 17 pass from Sean Stell (Logan Porter kick)
N -- Rudy Monteon 14 run (Gleason kick)
S -- Josh Williams 90 pass from Stell (Williams pass from Stell)