It was a game just begging for someone to take over. And with the surplus of talent lurking in the 29th annual Kensington Lions All-Star Classic, someone was bound to do so at some point.
That time came midway through the third quarter with the game deadlocked at 7-7, when the South running back duo of Dustin Bowser (Southwestern) and Tim Hall (Depew) decided they would be the ones. The two led the South on a 13-play, 80-yard drive, capped off by a 10-yard Bowser touchdown.
The South shut down the North's offense after that score, holding on for a 14-7 victory in front of an estimated 4,800 in Lancaster High School Stadium.
Bowser, who was named the South's Offensive MVP, accounted for 36 of the yards on that drive, which chewed up 6 minutes and 9 seconds of clock.
"That was probably one of the greatest moments of my high-school life," Bowser said. "I got to stand side-by-side with someone I had played against before, and we were able get it done."
Hall carried the ball five times on the drive, accumulating 26 yards. One of his rushes was a key fourth-and-1 conversion from the North's 16-yard line.
"Our line was just firing off the ball and smacking people," South coach Steve Griffin said. "Our fullbacks were hitting too, loosening things up. After we wore them down, Dustin just took the ball around the outside -- it was a beautiful play."
Bowser finished with 77 rushing yards on 17 attempts, while Hall had 66 yards on 10 carries for the night.
The North's Jhamal Fluellen (Lockport) led all rushers with 92 yards.
Early in the second quarter, quarterback Steve Stepnick (Iroquois) put the South ahead with a 34-yard touchdown run on an option play. North quarterback Kevin Eick (Medina) evened the score in the final minute of the first half with a 4-yard scamper into the right corner of the end zone.
Following Bowser's score at the end of the third, the North had the ball inside the South's 10 on two separate occasions, but failed to put any points on the board.
"I've got to give the South a lot of credit," said North coach Mike Finn (Lockport). "They made some plays at the end of the game. We had opportunities, but didn't capitalize on them."
Along with Bowser, others earning MVP honors included Mike Enoch (South defense), John Livingston (South line), Fluellen (North offense), William Fernandez (North defense) and Brian Wetzler (North line) . . . Three players will be moving on to play football at Division I-A institutions -- Fluellen (Syracuse), Brett Kern (Toledo) and Derek Kinder (Pittsburgh). Fluellen has met all of the NCAA's academic requirements, but may not appear on the Syracuse campus until January, depending upon whether or not any of Syracuse's 2004 scholarships are freed up . . . The game will be rebroadcast on Adelphia 13 at five different times -- Saturday at noon and 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 and 7, and Aug. 7 at noon.