As the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard at Marvin F. Wilson Stadium late Saturday afternoon, the high school careers of 11 Baltimore-area football players officially came to an end.
Though the local players' South squad suffered a 38-13 loss to the North in the third annual Chesapeake Bowl, the result didn't dampen the collective enthusiasm they had for participating in the East Coast all-star game.
"The scoreboard didn't light up too much for us, but that wasn't really a big deal," said Calvert Hall offensive tackle J.P. McManus. "We really got to showcase our talent, and it was a great way to end my high school career."
Local players on the South roster — which drew athletes from Maryland, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia — included: Marvin Gross (Dunbar), Malik Jones (Dunbar), Adam Greene (Broadneck), Delando Johnson (Calvert Hall), Don Knox (Century), McManus (Calvert Hall), Timothy Brady (St. Frances), Ben Priddy (Severn), Alec Scheetz (Loyola) and Miles Norris (Gilman). The North roster was filled with the best high school football players from Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The South took the lead on the first drive of the game after quarterback Deion Stitt completed a 42-yard to the 8-yard line. Two plays later, Taquan Mizzell, regarded as one of the top running backs in the nation, punched it in from 2 yards out for the first score.
The North responded with legs and arm of quarterback Tommy Woodson, who broke off a 24-yard run to the 8-yard line before tossing a touchdown pass to Ishmael Hyman. A 24-yard field goal from Priddy gave the South a 10-7 lead with 4:07 left before halftime
St. Frances' Brady started the second quarter for the South, but struggled to lead the offense. Malik Shegog intercepted Brady's second pass at the opposing 48-yard line. The North would score minutes later on a quick slant to Andre Patton, who shook off a tackler and sprinted 33 yards into the end zone.
The North scored again before halftime and on its first series of the third quarter. The dagger came on an 86-yard touchdown bomb from Alec Werner to Brian Lemelle, teammates at Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg, Pa., to push the score to 28-10.
While the local players' final games ended in a loss, they took solace in knowing they could represent their schools and hometowns by wearing their helmets one last time.
"I love to represent Baltimore. It's where I'm from, it's where my team is, where my family is, so anytime I'm able to play [for them] it's an honor," Norris said. "I love Gilman; it was an honor to play there every time I put on my helmet."
Added McManus: "That was huge. Delando and I got to do that and I loved that. Not only representing Calvert Hall but that Baltimore-Metro area."
The South's final points came from Greene, who will walk-on at Maryland in the fall.
"This last game, yeah it's our last high school game," said Greene, who kicked a 38-yard field goal. "But it's also the beginning of our college careers."