HILLSBORO — The South didn’t win the game, but it came away a winner, said coach Bill Singler, in the annual Les Schwab Bowl featuring top senior football players from classes 6A and 5A.
The North scored 14 fourth-quarter points Saturday night at Hillsboro Stadium to pull away for a 24-7 victory.
The South team was represented by two coaches and seven players from Southern Oregon.
“It’s just the way it happens,” said Singler, South Medford’s head coach who guided the South team. “All-star games are weird. Just when you think things are going well, they aren’t going well.”
He referred to the early stages of the game, when the South, buoyed by the contributions of South Medford quarterback Robbie Patterson and running back Jaylin Parnell, drove 99 yards on its first possession for the game’s initial touchdown.
Patterson hit Parnell on a 9-yard swing pass for the score, and when the South got the ball back soon after via a fumble inside the North 10-yard line, it appeared it would add to its lead.
The South took over at the North 8, but the drive was stopped on downs at the 3.
“If we go up 14-0, we have the lead and the momentum and that whole thing,” said Singler.
The North gradually moved in front and pulled away.
“What we talked about,” said Singler, “was it’s been a great week and you have to absorb what you’re doing, the camaraderie you’re making with your teammates. Don’t take away that we lost the game, take away that we won the week and had a terrific time together building relationships.”
Parnell was named the South’s most valuable back. He had 44 yards rushing on 13 carries. “He ran the ball well and caught the ball well,” said Singler.
Patterson added 22 yards on seven carries. He was 7 of 12 passing for 107 yards with an interception.
“He had a couple of nice other passes in there on that first drive,” said Singler.
Parnell caught four passes for 38 yards and also saw time at defensive end.
Crater’s Cade Weaver was second on the South in tackles with a total of eight — three solo and five assists. He also broke up two passes.
South Medford’s Brandon Ditty started on the offensive line for the South.
Other locals chosen for the game were South Medford receiver Jaalen Owens, bothered by a back injury; South Medford lineman Michael Cormier; and Grants Pass linebacker Rich England.
“All in all, it was great experience for these kids,” said Singler. “Our kids, and all the South (team) kids, they really started to bond about midweek, and especially at the end of the week. There were lots of events. Every night they were busy doing something.”
The North jumped ahead to stay with a 71-yard interception return by Grant Ewell Jr. for an 8-7 lead in the second quarter. A safety made it 10-7 at halftime.
In the fourth quarter, DeMarques Singleton scored on a 13-yard run and Levi O’Connell on an 18-yard pass from Mitchell Modjeski.