Tonawanda News — DEPEW — It was clear prior to kickoff Wednesday at Depew High School that the 37th Kensington Lions/Ad-Pro Sports All-Star High School Football Classic lacked the same star power that graced local gridirons last fall.
With Tonawanda News Player of the Year Chad Kelly (St. Joe’s) already off to Clemson, and studs Akeel Lynch (St. Francis/Penn State), Mercer Timmis (Canisius/University of Calgary) and Okoya Anderson (Orchard Park) prepping for the collegiate level, it was University at Buffalo bound Jordan Johnson that provided ample spark to lead the North to a record-setting 48-6 win over the South team.
The win snapped the South’s two-year reign in the midsummer classic.
“Even though it’s an all-star game, I still never lost a game to a Western New York opponent,” said Johnson, whose spread offense helped orchestrate the largest margin of victory and the most points scored in all-star game history. “It feels good playing with a bunch of these kids, great athletes on the field.”
Johnson garnered overall player of the game honors for the North team, while North Tonawanda’s Jed Jastrzemski took home defensive player of the game. Kenmore West’s Brandon Lathrop was named his team’s top offensive lineman as well.
“I was actually really surprised I got it,” Jastrzemski said. “It feels great, though.”
“This is not just my last high school game, this is probably my last football game,” he added after greeting a throng of family and friends in the stands. “I just wanted to come out here —it wasn’t about winning or losing – I just wanted to have fun.”
Johnson finished with 10 carries for 143 yards rushing, while Kenmore West’s Martin Bailey chipped in 15 carries for 89 yards on the ground, unofficially.
Johnson’s scintillating run to close out the third quarter was perhaps the highlight of the game. Johnson appeared gobbled up on the right sideline for a short pickup, but the future Bull bolted free down the left sideline for 79 yards before being dragged down at the 6, setting up a 2-yard score by Bailey.
In a first half marred by three South-team turnovers, Johnson found the end zone twice — first on a 9-yard run and later on a 21-yard strike to North Tonawanda native Yanni Zulia (St. Joe’s) — to give the Blue Shirts a commanding 27-0 lead en route to the victory.
Cardinal O’Hara’s Kyree Carter capped off the North’s opening possession with a 1-yard score. Newfane’s Sean Seefeldt hit a pair of field goals, including a 42-yard bomb early in the second
Lockport’s Luke Hinton was a steady contributor for the North squad throughout the night from the safety position. Starpoint’s Cory Regnet made an interception early in the second quarter as well.
Other local standouts included NT’’s Mike Grimaldi, Niagara Falls’ Durshron Sanders, St. Joe’s Kyle Briggs and Jordan Sanders, Starpoint’s Brandon Wehrmeyer, Grand Island’s Eddie Krecisz and Chuck Grunzweig, Kenmore East’s Jordan Wainwright and Tonawanda’s Kyle Gallivan.Contact Tonawanda News sports editor Brandon Koch at 693-1000, ext. 4117.