North wins football showcase
CAMBRIDGE — The North Bayside all stars defeated the South 49-21 in Saturday’s Eastern Shore Bowl at Cambridge-South Dorchester High’s Viking Stadium.
Kent County star Marcquan Greene scored three touchdowns and rushed for 125 yards in the victory.
CAMBRIDGE — In the first Eastern Shore Bowl senior football all-star game in 2008, the North Bayside didn’t have a true quarterback on the team.
The South dominated that night in a 39-2 win.
Saturday afternoon at Cambridge-South Dorchester High’s Viking Stadium, the North’s projected starter for the ninth annual showcase, Queen Anne’s County star Mike D’Angelo, was out with an ankle injury suffered playing basketball Thursday against Easton.
Pat Freeman, D’Angelo’s backup, didn’t see many snaps this season for the Lions, but stepped in confidently and made the transition a seamless one.
Freeman threw for a touchdown, and Lions teammate Tyler Bonner’s 14 total tackles sparked a strong defensive performance during the North’s 49-21 victory.
“I told all the coaches, just what an honor it is, to be able to coach the kids today,” said North coach Matt Griffith, who led the team for the third time. “The amount of talent that was there today, was just amazing.
“To be able to hand the ball off to Tre’ Lake, Tay Potts, Eric Joseph, Marcquan Greene, that’s pretty special.”
Greene, as he’s done for four years at Kent County, put up dominant numbers, with 14 carries for 125 yards — both game-highs. Greene also scored three times; a fourth touchdown, for 43 yards in the second quarter, was called back on a holding penalty.
For Greene, who averaged two touchdowns per game over four seasons, the end to his high school football tenure was “a shocking moment.”
“Playing all these years, and finally saying goodbye, it’s shocking,” Greene said. “But, I had a blast playing for Kent County High School.”
On all of his carries, the same thought occupied Greene’s thoughts, he said. “When I came out, I thought, ‘this is going to be my last time playing high school football,’” he said. “I have to make it last, and, playing with my Bayside friends, it’s heartbreaking.”
Queen Anne’s County place kicker Luke Metrinko, who went 3-for-3 on point-after kicks, had a similar mindset, saying he wanted to “leave it all out on the field for the North.”
“It was a really cool experience playing with the guys we’ve been battling against all season long,” Metrinko said. “I just wanted to give it my all and make the best I could out of it.”
The South scored first. Parkside’s Tyrik Bivens returned the opening kickoff to the North 45-yard line. Six snaps later, a 5-yard carry by Keeondre Coston (Wicomico) made it 6-0; Parkside’s Justin Ball made the PAT to put the guests up 7-0 with 11 minutes, 43 seconds left in the first quarter.
The first North drive ended in a punt, the second in a fumble, recovered at the South’s 9-yard line.
But the South gave the ball right back, when Easton’s Ben Morse fell on a fumble two plays into their next drive at the South’s 5.
Two plays later, Greene scored from two yards out, and Bert Schrecongost (Kent Island) booted the PAT to tie the game with 2:23 to go in the first quarter.
Freeman found Easton’s Matt Farrow in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass as time ran out in the first. Metrinko’s kick made it 14-7 North.
The South tied it in the second quarter. Wi-Hi quarterback Jason Patterson, the South’s Offensive Player of the Game, threw to James M. Bennett’s Matt Crysostome for 35 yards and a score to make it 14-14 five minutes before intermission.
Greene’s second touchdown, a 5-yard run with 1:28 to go in the second, put the North ahead for good at 2114.
North Caroline’s Tay Potts, who finished with two interceptions and two tackles, picked off South quarterback Kelly Reagan (Nandua, Va.) and ran it back 37 yards for a score to make it 28-14 early in the third quarter.
The North stretched its lead to 35-14 on a 36-yard Greene touchdown two minutes into the fourth quarter. Kean Shanahan of Queen Anne’s, recovering a fumble by high school teammate Brandon Hickman in the South end zone, made it 4214, and a 7-yard Potts rushing score put the North up 49-14.
The South replied with the game’s final score, a 2-yard Dajour Church (Parkside) run with four minutes left to play.
Griffith, who also got the chance to coach his son, Andrew, in the game, enjoyed a rare opportunity, he said.
“It was tough. I think we kept it in perspective, though, using this as an opportunity to go out and have fun,” Griffith said. “I just got to sit back and cherish that moment . ... it’s something that my son and I will have for the rest of our lives.”
In all, saying goodbye to his players was bittersweet, Griffith added. “It’s hard, but ... whenever your run ends in the playoffs [is] the hardest week . ... We make this all about the kids having fun. ... There’s some great kids in the Bayside. We’ve had a blast with them and really enjoy it.”
Bonner, for his efforts, earned the North Bayside Defensive Player of the Game. The South’s defensive honoree was Wicomico’s Raekwon McCarter, who had 12 total tackles, including six solos.