JOHNSTOWN — If he never plays quarterback again, former Penns Manor standout and North squad signal caller Danny Ferens will carry no regrets about his curtain call in the 43rd annual Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star Game.
Ferens put on one last quintessential show of flair and grit before he ships off to college, rushing for 86 yards on 21 carries and scoring a touchdown to guide the North to a 41-7 shellacking of the South at Johnstown High School’s Trojan Stadium on Friday night.
Ferens, who will likely play receiver for the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, was named the North’s outstanding offensive back and received a $500 scholarship for his efforts.
“I love playing quarterback,” Ferens said. “But I just want to be on the field, so if not playing quarterback is the fastest way to get on the field, then that’s fine with me.”
The North avenged an embarrassing 44-6 setback at the hands of the South in last year’s game.
“I wasn’t really sure how much I was going to be playing, or how much I’d get the ball, so anytime I got it, I just ran as hard as I could,” Ferens, who also completed four passes for 52 yards, said. “It was kind of nice getting breaks, because then I could go all out. I didn’t have to save it for defense. I could just go as hard as I could, and that’s what I did. … It was really nice to win like this after the week we had as a team. It was just great.”
Longtime Blairsville offensive coordinator and North assistant coach Rick Artley admitted that he was more confident from a defensive perspective heading into the game.
“I knew our defense was good from scrimmaging them on Tuesday night, but I never anticipated this,” Artley said. “I didn’t know if our offense was far behind or not, but they did a great job on both sides of the ball. To win like this is just unbelievable.”
The North marched 80 yards on 14 plays on its second drive of the game to score a touchdown and take a 7-0 lead. On a third-and-8, Cambria Heights running back Tyler Crawford galloped 25 yards for a touchdown with 3:28 to play in the first quarter.
The North scored on another 25-yard run on its next drive to take a 14-0 lead. This time, Everett running back Barkley Rhoat scampered untouched into the end zone on a draw play.
Northern Cambria’s Adam Polites made it a 20-0 game on the North’s second drive of the second quarter by catching a touchdown over the outstretched arms of cornerback Brock Medva of Shade.
On a second-and-6, Cambria Heights quarterback Nathan Bearer hooked up with Polites on a fade route in the back corner of the end zone. Polites outleaped Medva, hauled in Bearer’s pass, and then tapped his toes inbounds to secure the touchdown with 4:11 to go in the first half.
“We tried getting it on the other side, but I was on the wrong side of the field, so it was my fault that it didn’t work,” Polites said. “But the next drive we came back, and Coach ran it on the short side of the field. It was what I had always done in high school, just going up top and getting it off him. It worked out for us very well.”
Bearer connected with Doltyn Snedden on a skinny post for a 19-yard touchdown with 27 seconds left in the second quarter to extend the North’s lead to 26-0.
Ferens capped a 12-play, 66-yard drive and scored on a quarterback keeper with seven minutes left in the third quarter to stretch the North’s lead to 32-0.
Drew Glotfelty scored the South’s lone touchdown when he scored from five yards with 9:43 left in the game.
Crawford added a 20-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to make it 38-7.
Glotfelty then got tackled in his own end zone for a safety, which made it a 34-point North lead, 41-7.
Marion Center cornerback Brodey Thompson made five tackles and was named the North’s outstanding defensive back. Thompson also received a $500 scholarship.
Ligonier Valley offensive tackle Micah Tennant was named the South’s outstanding offensive lineman. Tennant garnered a $500 scholarship.