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Down 24? No problem for North and Les Schwab Bowl MVP Peter Williams of Lincoln

QB passes for three TDs, scores another, in huge comeback
by: MILES VANCE Lincoln High quarterback Peter Williams holds up the MVP trophy after leading the North to a come-from-behind, 42-38 victory over the South in Saturday's Les Schwab Bowl at Hillsboro Stadium.

HILLSBORO - The 2011 Les Schwab Bowl was everything a high school All-Star game should be Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium. It was filled with passion, emotion and drama, as the announced crowd of 6,984 watched a tale of two halves - and a huge comeback.

The South jumped out to a commanding 31-7 lead in the first two quarters.

But in the second half, as the stadium lights burst forth, former Lincoln High quarterback Peter Williams decided he would not go quietly into the night.

Williams was spectacular. He threw three touchdown passes and scored another to lead the North to a 42-38 victory.

Williams led an 80-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes, and John Shaffer of Class 6A champion Aloha scored the winning touchdown on a 6-yard run with 22 seconds remaining.

'I wanted to win, we all wanted to win, and we talked about it at halftime,' said Williams, who finished 26 of 36 for 267 yards passing and was named the game's MVP. 'In the second half, we were all just meshing.'

The North wound up with 509 yards of offense to the South's 471, and the North led 30-20 in first downs.

Backup North QB Colin Walsh of Reynolds completed 6 of 12 passes for 103 yards, with the game's lone interception.

North receivers Kyler Bruno of Sunset and Greg Heath from Central Catholic each caught five passes. Glencoe's Hayden Plinke and Lincoln's Drake Whitehurst had four catches apiece. Plinke snared two TD tosses - both in the North's 28-0 third-quarter run - and was voted the North lineman of the game.

Shaffer was selected as the North's outstanding back.

With the win, the North improved its narrow lead in the annual showcase to 31-29-4.

The South had used a combo platter of unstoppable quarterbacks to build its big lead, with Matt Yarbrough of Tualatin throwing for two touchdowns and Logan Silver of Marist rushing for two TDs.

The South caught the North looking not ready to play on its first two drives and claimed a quick 14-0 advantage.

On the opening possession, the South marched 80 yards. Silver capped the drive with an 8-yard keeper around the right tackle.

Then Yarbrough found Daniel Herr of Sheldon on a slant route for a 20-yard TD.

On the first drive of the second quarter, Silver put the South up 21-0 with a sneak from inside the 1.

The North took advantage of a fumble recovery on the South's 35 to score its first touchdown. Ivan Palavra of Centennial took an off-tackle handoff from the 5 and streaked into the right corner of the end zone.

The South made the score 28-7 with 6:23 remaining in the half. Yarbrough dropped back to pass and found Ryan Scoville of Marshfield open down the field on a go route. Scoville caught the ball and jogged into the end zone for a 52-yard TD.

Austin Siegel of Crater put the South up 31-7 with 1:02 remaining in the quarter, drilling a 35-yard field goal.

In the second half, Williams found his passing rhythm.

'My line was awesome. They gave me time all around,' he said.

Williams connected with Plinke on a 30-yard TD pass on the North's first drive of the half. In the end zone, Plinke fought off interference by a South defensive back, juggled the ball and finally corralled it for the score.

With 6:03 remaining in the third quarter, Williams again found Plinke open in the end zone, this time for a 15-yard TD that made the score 31-21.

'Peter, I have nothing but good things to say about him,' Plinke said. 'He read the defense right. I just went up and caught the ball. It's pretty easy.'

With 2:22 remaining in the third quarter, Williams rolled to the right and spotted

Bruno open on a screen route. Bruno caught the ball and raced to the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown that cut the South's lead to 31-28.

Just 49 seconds later, the North recovered a fumble on the South 30. Williams took advantage. With the ball on the 5, he faked an outside handoff. When the South defense swarmed to the running back, Williams took the ball up the middle and put the North on top 35-31.

'The D-end went down, and I just pulled and went right in,' Williams said. 'The linebackers went out with the wide receivers, so it was wide open.'

The North, however, nearly cost itself the game when it fumbled on its 28 with 4:45 remaining. From the 7, South QB Yarbrough rolled out and found Jackson Ruckert of West Albany open in the end zone. After the extra point, the South was back in the lead 38-35.

But the North rallied again.

With 2:55 remaining, Williams began to mount an 80-yard drive for the winning points. The North got to the South 6 with 1:02 left. With many in the crowd no doubt expecting a pass, Williams handed off to Shaffer. Shaffer took the ball up the middle and dove into the end zone.

'We'd been running that same play all night,' Shaffer said. 'We decided to go at it one more time - kind of our bread and butter. The coach told me to be patient, and read the hole. I saw (the linebacker) was ducking down, and I decided to take it over the top.

'It felt outstanding just to go into that end zone. We knew we had the game sealed.'

For Williams, who will play football and lacrosse for Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both the win and becoming teammates with players he had competed against all season added up to a memory that will last a lifetime.

'It's awesome,' he said. 'We're playing against (one another) all year, and here we're playing together. We all came together.'