All-Star game doesn’t disappoint despite tie

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South's Richie Sotelo works to get around the North's Mat

In more ways than one, the great shootout between Gilroy’s Jamie
Jensen and Leigh’s Ryan Stillwell has its place in the annals of
the Charlie Wedemeyer High School All-Star Football Game.
The prized quarterbacks played their final prep contest with
conscious effort and poise in Spartan Stadium, delivering a tour de
force one would expect from two of the top signal-callers in the
Central Coast Section.
Surprisingly, neither star walked away the victor.
For just the third time in its 35-year history, the Silicon
Valley Youth Classic ended without decision Wednesday as the
Jensen-led South and Stillwell-led North settled for a 28-28
tie.
SAN JOSE – In more ways than one, the great shootout between Gilroy’s Jamie Jensen and Leigh’s Ryan Stillwell has its place in the annals of the Charlie Wedemeyer High School All-Star Football Game.

The prized quarterbacks played their final prep contest with conscious effort and poise in Spartan Stadium, delivering a tour de force one would expect from two of the top signal-callers in the Central Coast Section.

Surprisingly, neither star walked away the victor.

For just the third time in its 35-year history, the Silicon Valley Youth Classic ended without decision Wednesday as the Jensen-led South and Stillwell-led North settled for a 28-28 tie.

“I never heard of a game ending in a tie,” said Gilroy safety Tony Travis, who helped snap the South’s three-year losing skid. “It’s nice to end the South streak even if it’s a tie.”

Jensen finished 8 of 14 for 192 yards passing and hooked up with Gilroy teammate Dante Fullard for scoring strikes of 32 and 10 yards. The second pushed the South All-Stars ahead by one after they trailed 13-7 at the half.

The game went back and forth from there, as the teams traded touchdowns on the next four drives.

“You feel bad because the kids want an outcome. They want it one way or the other, so that part’s hard,” South coach Mike Machado of Valley Christian said. “But the fact that these teams answered every time it was necessary, the big-play guys showed up; you know, I think if you came here tonight, you got what you paid for. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

Fullard, a 5-foot-10 wideout, hauled in three catches for 77 yards. His first touchdown reception came in the second quarter – immediately after Jensen found him on a streak for 35 yards. The following play looked identical.

“We played (Gilroy) a couple years ago, so did they surprise me? No,” Machado said. “The thing that was fun to watch was that they’re on the same page – you could tell.”

Jensen also connected with Oak Grove wideout Jabari Carr on a picturesque 39-yard touchdown throw down the right sideline, tying the score at 28 with 2:14 remaining.

“When you got a quarterback like Jensen and a receiver like Jabari Carr, damage can be done,” said Carr, who had four catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns. “If we would have thrown a little more, it would have been more like 45-28.”

Stillwell almost led his team to victory on the next drive. He completed 5 of 8 passes for 48 yards as the North reached the South’s 15-yard line with 11 seconds left. Stillwell’s teammate Ethan Cosgrove lined up to attempt a 32-yard field goal, but Leland’s Michael Santini broke through the line and blocked it.

“It felt like it could have gone on longer. We would have liked to play overtime; we definitely could have,” said Sobrato’s Alex Meldrum, who started at cornerback and had three tackles for the South. “It’s kind of cheating in a way to play like we did and end in a tie. It’s always a win-or-lose mentality out there.”

Stillwell was a near-perfect 20-of-24 passing for 236 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Cosgrove late in the fourth quarter. Cosgrove had nine catches for 120 yards.

Travis made four tackles, and Bubba Chapman of Oak Grove had an interception for the South, which also received tackles from Live Oak’s Jeff Blean and Gilroy’s Richie Sotelo.

Blean made his play on the kickoff before the North’s final drive.

“I went flying downfield, saw him running in my lane and just laid him on his (butt),” he said. “It was fun playing out there. It was crazy.”

Milpitas’ Chris Albright, who had seven catches for 152 yards, scored the game’s first touchdown when Cory Murphy of Wilcox found him on a post for 66 yards.

The North scored again – with a stroke of luck – on the final play of the half. Palo Alto’s Will Brandin threw a deep ball into traffic that was tipped by Santa Clara’s Jordan Funtila and caught by Leigh’s Ryan Valentine, who barely outran Meldrum for a 58-yard score.

Switching to a pass-heavy approach, the South’s offense exploded in the second half. Jensen and Fullard connected for a second touchdown, and Carr scored on a dazzling catch-and-run off a short throw from Branham’s Kyle Cool. Carr caught it in the flat, side-stepped one tackler, fought through another and sprinted 56 yards on a line to the end zone.

That came a play after Los Gatos’ Brian Comstock gave the North a 21-14 lead with his 6-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter.

Jensen’s strike to Carr capped the ensuing drive.

“It’s great showing off that speed,” Jensen said before talking about Carr’s first touchdown. “I thought Jabari was done on that last one – and then he high-stepped it down the sideline.”

The crowd gave a sigh as the highlight-filled fourth quarter came to a close.

“What more could you ask for?” South assistant coach KC Adams of Anchorpoint Christian said. “The way I look at it, it was a win all-around.”

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