After conceding the first quarter to the Nike North Dade All-Stars, the South Dade All-Stars rode a big night from unsigned star tailback Johnnie Hankins in a hard-fought 26-20 victory at Curtis Park.
Hankins helped his college stock after he ran for nearly 190 yards and added 70 receiving yards as the South rallied Saturday night.
“They always say the North is better than the South because they have a struggle up there but the South pulled through [Saturday night],” Hankins said. “As for my night, being an all-around back is a gift from God. I know more offers will come in after what I did [Saturday]. It’s on to the next level I go.”
It took Travandus Donaldson’s block on the North’s extra-point attempt and Peter Delatour scooping up the loose ball and rumbling 80 yards the other way to seal the victory after Carol City’s Rashad Fenton caught a touchdown pass to make it a 24-20 game with 2:27 left.
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“The block was a big momentum shift,” Donaldson said. “They thought they had it but I stopped it and it came right back to us. The defense held it down like we are supposed to.”
The South defense thwarted the North with two big stops to make sure Hankins’ big night didn’t go to waste.
First it was Antonyo Sotolongo tight-roping the left sideline to come up with an interception at the start of the fourth quarter. Then Bruce Davis recovered a fumble with 8:58 left.
The North struck first on a South special-teams miscue. On a mishandled punt attempt, American defensive back Karon Jackson scooped up the loose ball at the South 15-yard line and did a front flip into the end zone to give the North a 6-0 lead with 10:10 left in the first quarter.
Despite South starting quarterback Deaundre Pickett-White flashing a strong arm with several tight spirals down the sidelines, the South was unable to put any points on the board with him under center.
After the North scored, Pickett-White hit Anthony Olivencia on consecutive strikes to set the South up at the North 34-yard line. Austin Maloney then drew a pass interference on the North’s John Toussaint to put the ball on the North 18-yard line. But the drive fizzled when the 40-yard field-goal attempt fell short.
The South caught its first break with 6:27 left in the first quarter when the North muffed its own punt attempt, leading to a South safety that cut the North lead to 7-2.
Maloney provided a spark for the South with a 25-yard punt return to the North 42-yard line. Pickett-White was replaced by Jowan Watson, who made his presence felt with a 27-yard strike to Maloney that put the ball on the North 15-yard line. The South was poised to score when Hankins got the call on a fourth and less than a yard on the North 6-yard line but the North averted disaster when Hankins fumbled.
Another South safety with 2:30 left in the second quarter pulled them to 7-4 before the half.
South’s Jotae Barrett zigzagged through the North for a 35-yard return to put the ball on the North 29-yard line. Watson then found Maloney for a 29-yard touchdown reception in the right corner of the end zone to give the South a 10-7 lead and a huge momentum swing going into halftime.
The South’s Uriell Hernandez connected on a field goal to put the South up 14-7 early in the third quarter, but the North’s Hilton Joseph found Miami Springs’ Johnny Rembert on a 56-yard touchdown pass after Rembert shook a South defender following a short gain and took it the distance to tie the score at 14.