3:06pm: Hotline with Dave Weekley

Two-point conversion stop in overtime lifts the South over the North, 21-20

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The South Cardinals were unable to find the scoreboard in the first 33 minutes of the annual North-South Game. However, a trio of touchdowns and a two-point conversion stop in overtime lifted the Cardinals to a thrilling 21-20 win.

“It was just a super game. We’re excited,” said South and Shady Spring head coach Vince Culicerto. “We just wanted to bring this back to the south. These boys are one of the best teams I have ever been around.”

“We came in and didn’t really know each other except by name. And then by the second or third day, we are all best friends and we were ready to go out on the field and battle like we did. It was a great thing to be a part of,” said South quarterback Matt Frye.

Yards and points were difficult to come by in the first half as both defenses controlled the game early. The stalemate was broken in the final minute of the first half. Fairmont Senior’s Dylan Ours scored on a 5-yard touchdown run to give the North Bears a 7-0 halftime lead.

The Cardinals drew even with 2:38 to play in the third quarter. Mingo Central quarterback Chris Ross connected with Clay County’s BJ Williams on a 44-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7.

On their next possession in the fourth quarter, another deep ball allowed the Cardinals to take their first lead. Scott quarterback Matt Frye hit Bluefield’s RJ Hairston on a 67-yard strike to put the South ahead 14-7.

“There were a couple big plays, one to RJ and one by Jones — my Mingo man at quarterback made a good play,” Culicerto said.

On the ensuing possession, the North bounced back with a lengthy drive. University’s Luke Hudson found Ours behind the South defense on a 49-yard pass to tie the game at 14.

The North had a chance to pull ahead late in regulation, but Cooper Ridgeway of James Monroe intercepted a pass deep in South territory with less than a minute to play and the game would go to overtime.

South was on offense first in the extra session. Wahama’s Sawyer VanMatre scored on a quarterback keeper from three yards out. The point after put the Cardinals up 21-14.

North needed just one play to find the end zone. East Fairmont’s Ian Crookshanks found Ours for a 20-yard touchdown. It was Ours’ third touchdown of the game.

The Bears lined up to go for two and the win, but Ours was stopped just short of the goal line, setting off a celebration on the South sideline. Culictero credited his assistant coach Phil Culicerto for the game-winning stop.

“My brother handled that part. He took the defense and he put more on the line of scrimmage. We jumped offsides and even gave them half the distance. But we bowed up.

“They called a timeout to see what we were going to line up in. We saw the running back come up to quarterback and we just thought the sneak it what it is. [Marshall] Christus from Huntington makes a good play and on the outside everybody bucked up.”

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