Pittsburgh Central Catholic teammates Perry Hills and Anthony Nixon will play for Maryland next season, and they gave local fans a peek at their abilities Friday night.
Hills, a quarterback, ran for 81 yards in the first quarter and threw a touchdown pass that was set up by a Nixon interception as the North jumped in front early and rolled to a 28-17 victory over the South in the second Chesapeake Bowl at South River.
Hills, who committed to Maryland earlier this year, helped the North offense score 21 points in the first quarter. The North team featured players from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The South — which won last year's inaugural game 30-27 at Towson — featured the top seniors from Maryland, D.C. Virginia and West Virginia.
The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Hills showed he can both run and throw, and he
made a big impact despite playing just over a quarter.
He completed four of six passes for 30 yards, but he seemed most happy about his performance on the ground.
"Most people don't know I can run," Hills said with a smile. "But this was great. I love this place, and can't wait to come down here again."
The North took a 7-0 lead when Nate Smith — later picked as the game's Most Valuable Player — returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Ronald Darby of the South answered with a 75-yard return for a score on the ensuing kickoff to tie the game.
After that, Hills ran for 36 yards to set up the go-ahead touchdown, scored by Sharif Smith on a 5-yard run just over five minutes in to give the North a 14-7 lead. Hills then broke free for a 43-yard run up the middle on the next drive, but the North didn't score.
Nixon and Hills then combined to help the North stretch its lead to 21-7 later in the quarter.
Nixon, a safety who also committed to Maryland earlier this year, jumped to pick off a pass at the North 45 and ran it back 27 yards.
"I was baiting the quarterback there," the 6-foot-1, 198-pound Nixon said. "He thought the tight end had a step, but I knew my speed would cover for me."
On the following play, Hills threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Ray Cathie for the 14-point lead with 3:20 left in the quarter.
The North never led by less than 11 points the rest of the way.
Local players didn't play much of a role in the outcome. Dunbar wide receiver Deon-Tay McManus made three catches on a late second-quarter drive, but the South came up empty on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line.
A total of 13 local players were selected, but Gilman star Cyrus Jones Jr. did not play to make sure he wouldn't be injured heading into next week's Under Armour All-America High School Football Game in St. Petersburg, Fla.
(at South River)
N- N. Smith 90 kickoff return (Geesey kick)
S- Darby 75 kickoff return (Grebe kick)
N- S. Smith 5 run (Geesey kick)
N- Cathie 28 pass from Hills (Geesey kick)
S- Grebe 37 FG
N- Mapp 61 pass from Weakland (Geesey kick)
S-Brown 66 pass from Onett (Grebe kick)