PHOTO GALLERY | South scores late to edge North in Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star Classic | Sports

REELPa. – Although not slated to play on offense, Logan Kent just wanted one more opportunity to play on that side of the ball during Ken Lantzy’s 51st “Finest 40” All-Star Football Classic.

Kent rushed for two touchdowns, caught a score and threw another on his way to winning MVP and carrying the South to a 42-35 win over the North on Friday at Windber Stadium.

“The similarity to our attack in Conemaugh Valley – we ran the exact same attack – double wing,” said Kent, who ran for scores of 8 and 6 yards in the first half. “It’s a simple wing, but you have the shotgun and it’s almost the same. Just because of that, it helped me run the ball better because I’m used to it.

Good thing South coach Matt Grohal, who led Windber to a WestPAC title in 2021, was so quick to adapt to the move, which in turn sent Nick Dom to the defensive end. .

“These guys both wanted to switch sides on the ball,” Grohal said. “The first day, he is in a black jersey in defense. So we took the kicker’s jersey and put it on him. He (Kent) had a great week of preparation. He fully deserves to win this award. »

Grohal said all the fun was on him when it came to coaching the South team.

“These guys have been playing well and they’ve been great kids all week,” Grohal said. “The parents who raised these children did a great job. It was a class act and we had no problem.

The former Blue Jay rushed 12 times for 76 yards in part due to blocking by South offensive line MVP and former Bishop McCort Crusher Joe McGowan. Kent caught a 15-yard touchdown pass with just seven seconds left in the first half to give the South a 21-14 lead heading into halftime.

But his performance is matched only by quarterback and former Bedford star Mercury Swaim.

Swaim, who was 13 of 18 for 224 yards and two touchdowns, rolled and hit a wide-open Kaden Claar for a 43-yard touchdown that proved to be the game-winner with just 1:44 left in the fourth quarter .

The game was a little different from the South’s attacking style for most of the night. This fooled some of the northern defenders, making it easier to launch and capture Swaim at Portage’s old weapon.

“I knew on the play we might have a few defenders to bite because we ran a bunch of throws and stuff like that,” said Swaim, who also went for 73 yards on 13 carries. “We faked that and they all bit for the jet. I saw it wide open, and I was like, ‘I just can’t ruin this.’ So I gave it to an athlete and let him run in space and he did a few games for me.

Claar finished with five catches for 79 yards. Windber product Keith Charney had 98 yards on three catches, including a 42-yard touchdown from Kent with 9:44 left in the third quarter.

Earlier in the fourth with the South down, 28-27, Angelo Bartollini threw for a 3-yard touchdown. Swaim capped off the drive by finding former Conemaugh Township wide out Jackson Byer for a good 2-point conversion attempt to put the South on top 35-28.

But the North, led by former Richland signalman Kellan Stahl, never went away. Stahl, who threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns, threw a pass to Hollidaysburg’s Justin Wolfe, who brought home 46 yards to help tie the game at 35 all.

Chestnut Ridge’s Matt Whysong, who had six catches for 150 yards and a touchdown, won offensive back MVP for the North. He also ran for 35 yards to give the North a 28-27 lead with 12:47 remaining.

Central Cambria’s Hobbs Dill carried eight times for 61 yards and had a 24-yard touchdown.

“We finally had a chance to get him started in the second half, but we just couldn’t get the stoppage we needed to turn things around,” said North coach Justin Wheeler, who has led Bishop Guilfoyle to a Class 1A championship in 2021. “That was one hell of a game of football. That’s what you want to see in an All-Star game.

Remarks: Windber’s Dylan Tomlinson was selected as the MVP for South defensive backs. Somerset’s Ethan Hemminger has been named North Defensive Backs MVP.

Jack C. Nugent