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Pruett's record-setting effort lifts South in All-Star Game
COSTA MESA - Gavin Pruett wanted a high-scoring game with plenty of passing.
The Capistrano Valley quarterback made sure both happened for the South on Thursday night.
Pruett passed for a game-record four touchdowns to lead the South past the North, 30-20, in the Brea Lions Orange County All-Star Game in front of an estimated 5,300 at Orange Coast College.
“This is a big deal,” said Pruett, who also earned a victory in the recent 605 All-Star Game. “I have to shout out to my offensive line. Great job up front. I had all the time in the world and my receivers getting open. It was all them."
Quarterback Nick Brown of Rancho Alamitos led the North to two touchdowns in the final two minutes to make the finish interesting and set another passing record. Brown finished with a game-record 283 yards, which broke Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte’s record of 250 yards in 1961. Brown also broke Huarte's record for completions with 29.
The lasting signatures belonged to Pruett, selected the game’s offensive MVP, and the South defense. The South recorded five sacks, including 1 1/2 from defensive MVP Stash Rowley, a lineman from Santa Margarita. Irvine defensive lineman Clinton Rahimi also had 1½ sacks.
Rowley finished with a team-high 10 total tackles.
Pruett, bound for Milford Academy in New York, completed 14 of 18 for 185 yards.
His fourth touchdown pass came early in the fourth quarter on a 25-yard strike to Santa Margarita wide receiver Conner Bianchini, who outjumped two defenders on fourth down. The South opened a 30-6 lead with 10:55 and went on to take a 27-26-3 lead in the series.
Brown, who passed for an Orange County single-season record 52 touchdowns in the fall, threw a 36-yard touchdown to a leaping Dominic Vaccher of Troy with 1:46 left. Cypress’ Nick Buras, a quarterback who played mostly receiver for the North, added a 7-yard TD run with 45 seconds left.
The South led, 21-6, at halftime behind three touchdown passes from Pruett and three sacks by its defense.
Pruett started quickly, completing his six first passes on the game’s opening drive to lead the South on an 11-play, 77-yard scoring drive. He capped the possession with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Aliso Niguel slot receiver Remy Wasserbach with 7:25 left in the first quarter. Wasserbach lined up in the slot and found himself open in the end zone on a crossing route.
The North scored early in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by TJ Williams of Kennedy.
The South received a penalty before the North attempted to kick the extra point, which prompted the North to run its jumbo backfield back onto the field. But the South stopped Williams – Kennedy’s top runner last season – on his 2-point attempt.
Pruett stayed hot on the South’s ensuing possession, connecting on a 44-yard touchdown pass to Edison’s Jake Favreau. Pruett’s deep pass found Favreau open behind the safeties and lifted the South to a 14-6 lead with 8:52 left in the second quarter.
The touchdown pass also marked Pruett’s eighth consecutive completion to open the game.
The South defense later pinned the North deep in its territory. JSerra defensive tackle Joe Munroe delivered one of the hardest hits of the night on a first-down run for a 1-yard loss, helping to spark the stand. The North then misfired with a 2-yard punt from its 20.
Pruett’s first incompletion came on first down with 4:21 left in the first half, but on his next attempt, he fired a 22-yard touchdown to Bianchini with 4:17 left in the first half. Woodbridge’s Ryan Eisendrath kicked his third extra point as the South opened a 21-6 lead.
Pruett finished the first half 9 of 10 for 134 yards and tied a game record with three touchdown passes. Bianchini tied the game record for receiving touchdowns with two.
The South defense also forced two turnovers -- a fumble recovery by Edison's Manase Time and an interception by Capo Valley's Billy Biehn -- while its offense didn't commit a turnover.
"The guys were hyped," South coach Ernie Bucher of Capistrano Valley. "This is their last high school football game. ... They were ready to go out there and do a little bit of hitting."
Defensive tackle Jon Jennings of Los Alamitos had two sacks for the North, which the 2014 game, 12-6.
Brea Lions O.C. All-Star Game
South 30, North 20
S – 7 14 2 7 – 30
N – 0 6 0 14 – 20
S: Wasserbach 16 pass from Pruett (Eisendrath kick)
N: TJ Williams 2 run (T.J. Williams run failed)
S: Favreau 44 pass from Pruett (Eisendrath kick)
S: Bianchini 22 pass from Pruett (Eisendrath kick)
S: Safety, intentional grounding from end zone
S: Bianchini 25 pass from Pruett (Eisendrath kick)
N: Vaccher 36 pass from Brown (Buras pass from Brown)
N: Buras 7 run (pass failed)
Rushing: South, Martin, 11-38; North, Contreras, 17-60, Hanley, 5-37
Passing: South, Pruett, 14-18-0-185; North, Brown, 29-43-1-283
Receiving: South, Bianchini, 5-73, Favreau, 4-58; North, Soto, 9-47, Buras, 6-60
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