After suffering a pair of last-second one point losses each of the past two years, the Public School All-Star high school football team reared up and took out its frustrations on the Private School All-Stars when the two teams squared off in the Fifth Annual Tru Sports Foundation Public vs. Private All-Star game on Saturday night at Monsignor Pace High School.
Thanks to three interception returns for touchdowns, there would be no one point games on this night as the Public All-Stars turned in an impressive 31-0 shutout of the Private squad to narrow their deficit to 3-2 in the series.
“To get three pick-sixes in one game is really impressive and a real tremendous job by the defense tonight,” said Public head coach Dameon Jones of Hallandale. “The kids were tired of hearing about being down 3-1 in the series and really took this thing seriously in practice all week. We talked about not just coming out here and winning tonight but winning big and that’s what they did. What a great job.”
Alex Morales of Hialeah got the “pick-six” parade started when he stepped in from of a Sean Pratt (Archbishop McCarthy) pass and bolted 50 yards for a score with 9:06 left in the second quarter to put the Public up 7-0.
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Just one minute before halftime, Public put up its only offensive touchdown of the night when Coral Gables quarterback Dijon Smith found North Miami’s Sidney Auguste in the back corner of the end zone for a 21 yard touchdown.
After a Christian Mercado (North Miami Beach) 27-yard field goal made it 17-0 midway through the third, the Public squad slam dunked the game in the fourth quarter when Carol City’s Tyree Johnson picked off a Private pass and bolted 75 yards for a score with 7:05 left, and Miramar cornerback Marquino Martin turned the trick three minutes later from 82 yards to complete the scoring.
Johnson was named the game’s defensive MVP while Public running back Joseph Barrocas of Mater Academy took home offensive MVP honors after rushing for 60 yards on seven carries.
“What an amazing feeling,” said Johnson who is still looking for a school to sign with and has scheduled visits to FIU, Western Kentucky and Ohio University in the next three weeks. “We really went out there and played some shutdown defense tonight and I owe it all to my coaches and teammates. This was a team effort if there ever was one and I was glad to contribute to the process. We were confident all week we’d be able to come out and do this tonight.”