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LIONS ALL-STAR GAME: North blasts South 56-21
Orland's Schmeltzer dominates in rout
ANDERSON — The recipe that led Orland High to the Northern Section Division II title last fall was the same recipe the North squad used to blow past the South on Saturday night — put the ball in Austin Schmeltzer's hands and let him do his thing.
In a performance that showed why he's the top option quarterback in the North State, Schmeltzer outfaked, pitched, passed and ran his way around the South's defense all night long, leading the North to a 56-21 blowout in the 35th annual Lions All-Star Football Game at Bod Reid Stadium in Anderson.
The 35-point margin of victory was the largest in the history of the game, besting a 47-13 North victory in 1984. The win was also the North's fourth straight in the series.
Things went the North's way from the very start in this one as they recovered an onside kick on the opening kickoff before Lassen's Cameron Medico broke off a 32-yard touchdown run on the game's second play from scrimmage.
The North made it 14-0 minutes later when Schmeltzer made a perfectly timed pitch to Shasta's Chris Collins, who raced in for a 49-yard TD scamper down the left sideline. Enterprise's Alex Henderson added a 5-yard scoring run later in the opening period to put the North up 21-0 just 13 minutes into the game.
The South finally got on the board on a 5-yard TD run by Paradise's Albert Stevens to make the score 21-6, but that was as close as they would get.
Henderson scored on a short 1-yard plunge in the second quarter and Schmeltzer all but put the game away with a dazzling 71-yard touchdown run to make it a 35-6 game at the half.
Medico scored his second touchdown of the game with a score from 1 yard out and Schmeltzer hit Corning's Ryan Holland on a beautiful 44-yard scoring strike to stretch the lead to 49-6.
The biggest play for the South came late in the third period when Pleasant Valley's Eric Ascencio found Durham's Chris Craven on a short pass in the flat. Craven broke one tackle as soon as he caught the ball, and then zig-zagged his way through the North defense for a nifty 44-yard scoring play.
Stevens punched in the two-point conversion to make the score 49-14.
Holland picked off an Ascencio pass and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring for the North, which improved its mark to 20-14-1 in the series all-time.
The South capped the high-scoring affair with an 80-yard touchdown march on its final series of the game, and it was three Mid-Valley players who did most of the work.
Pierce's Isaiah Garcia, who didn't touch the ball until late in the game, carried the ball five times for 47 yards on the final drive. Biggs' Michael Torres moved the chains with a 7-yard reception and Maxwell's Brett Cabral broke off a 20-yard run before finding the end zone from 4 yards out with 4 minutes left to play.
River Valley's Anthony Boykin led the defensive charge for the South by recording a pair of sacks.
Schmeltzer was voted the game's MVP.