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North comes up big in second half

FOOTBALL - Ivan Palavra scores North's first touchdown
by: Jeff Spiegel Reynolds quarterback Colin Walsh makes a throw during the North's 42-38 win in Saturday's Oregon Bowl.

HILLSBORO -

In the most thrilling game in recent memory, the North side topped the South 42-38 in Saturday night's Les Schwab Oregon Bowl all-star football game.

The game marked the 64th matchup between the north and the south all-stars, as the north came into the game with a 30-29-4 record. This year's north squad featured local standouts such as Sandy's Kolby Kansala, Reynolds' Colin Walsh, David Douglas' Antwan Baker and Dylan Sounders, Centennial's Ivan Palavra, and Barlow's John Wolfe.

The South got opened the game quickly, scoring consecutive touchdowns on their first two drives to open up a 14-0 lead. It appeared as if the North was prepared to respond, as they drove all the way down to the one-yard line before fumbling the ball into the hands of a member of the South defense in the end zone. That turnover led to yet another touchdown for the South, as quarterback Logan Silver from Marist ran the ball in for his second touchdown of the game to extend the lead to 21-0.

After another North drive stalled, they caught their first break of the game, when the South fumbled the ball on their own 33-yard line. After a few short gains, it was Palavra who went up the middle from five yards out to put the North on the board.

That little bit of momentum was short lived, as two possessions later, Tualatin's Matt Yarbrough connected with Marshfield's Ryan Scoville from 52-yards out to put the lead back at 21 points. That lead would be extended by a 35-yard field goal just before halftime, putting the score at 31-7.

Fortunately for the North, the second half was all theirs.

After receiving the opening kickoff, the North needed just under two minutes to score their first touchdown of the half on a 30-yard pass from Lincoln's Peter Williams to Glencoe's Hayden Plinke. Two possessions later, the North was back in the end zone with another pass from Williams to Plinke that cut the lead to just ten points.

After converting on a huge fourth-and-two from the South's 23-yard line, the North scored their third straight touchdown, as Williams found Sunset's Kyler Bruno from ten yards out.  The North wasn't quite done, however, as Williams added one more touchdown before the end of the third quarter, this time on the ground, to give the North their first lead of the game, 35-31.

'Heart was definitely the key to that comeback,' Sandy's Kolby Kansala said, 'because we went into the half pissed off because we were losing, and so we just came out in the second half wanting it more than they did.'

While offense was the story of the first three quarters, the fourth was all about defense.  Neither team scored on their first seven combined possessions, including two turnovers from the North and one from the South.

With just four-and-a-half minutes remaining on the clock, the South offense took the field having been held scoreless on their previous nine possessions.  Facing a fourth and four from the North's 22-yard line, Yarbrough found Jackson Ruckert for a crucial gain of 15 yards. On the very next play Yarbrough found Ruckert once again, this time in the end zone for the go ahead score.

Trailing 38-35, Williams led the North offense back on to the field for the final possession of the game with just 2:55 remaining.  Unlike their previous drives that featured quick strikes and a no-huddle offense, this drive seemed to slowly but surely gain yardage as they methodically marched down the field.

With just 33 seconds remaining, the North broke through one last time as Aloha's Jonathan Shaffer burst through the line from six yards out to give the North the 42-38 lead.  The South took over with 0:22 on the clock, but couldn't muster any sort of drive, as the North earned the impressive victory.

'This was definitely an exciting game to play in and brought about every type of emotion you can imagine,' Barlow's John Wolfe said.

Williams was named the game's MVP as he finished 25 of 36 for 267 yards and three touchdowns along with 22 yards and another touchdown on the ground.  Plinke also had a stellar game, finishing with 82 yards receiving to go along with his two touchdowns, as well as two sacks on defense.

For the South, Silver finished the game with 199 yards through the air and 62 yards on the ground with a total of two touchdowns.  Yarbrough finished with 144 through the air and 31 yards on the ground with a total of three touchdowns.

As far as local players are concerned, Kansala finished the game with three receptions for 16 yards.  Walsh played sparingly in the second half, but finished 6 of 12 for 103 yards.  Palavra finished the game with 21 yards and one touchdown, while Baker rushed 11 times for 31 yards.

'It's definitely sad that this was our last high school game,' Wolfe said, 'but it was an honor to be considered for a team like this and I am just happy I got to meet all of these awesome guys.'