South squad squashes North in Lezzer Lumber Football Classic

The warm, humid June evening didn’t seem like it was time to play football, but there the 80 young athletes were, at Rogers Field in Bellefonte playing in the Lezzer Lumber All Star Football Classic. In fact this was the 20th year the game has been played. In that time $65,000 has been awarded in scholarships to 130 area athletes for the continuation of their education and tons of great football has been played.
The South, probably the underdog coming into the game surprised nearly everybody with a 35-7 win that looked easy.
“What better way to go out?” asked South assistant coach John Franco of Tyrone. “The South team really impressed me tonight. We were a little undermanned (the South had four players not in iniform due to injuries or other committments). The kids had to step up and that’s exactly what they did. Coach Krider (South head coach Jack Krider of Central) did a good job setting things up.
“It was nice to have Geoff Kozak on our side for a change.”
The North must have been wondering about where Number 13 (Kozak) was and if he had a big “S” on his T=-shirt underneath his pads.
Kozak, the South’ Most Valuable Player on offense completed 11 of 18 passes for 151 yards, one TD and one interception and ran the ball eight times for another 69 yards, including a 26-yard scamper for a score in the third quarter that neatly wrapped things up for the South. Kozak single-handedly gave the Huntingdon Bearcats a tying touchdown and winning field goal in a 23-20 win over Tyrone that was the Eagles’ only regular season loss in 2003.
“I think Justin Clark did a super job out there on defense,” said coach Franco. Justin was in on two solo tackles playing nearly every series on defense for the South and was constantly pressuring the North quarterbacks and running backs, including Scott Koch of State College, whio was selected North MVP on offense with 30 yards rushing and several long punt returns to get the North field position.
“I thought it was good to get to know the people who were our adversaries and those we didn’t get to see during the regular season,” explained Clark, who was a solid part of the South defense that limited to their lowest total in the Classic since the South won 15-5 in 1993. “We made friends in practice and really came together. It feels good to finish our high school careers on a good note. W e were the underdogs and is feels good to win big.”
Only a 39-26 North win in 1995 produced more points for the winner.
The South got three TDs from Hollidaysburg grad Gifford Piper seven and one-yard runs and on a 59-yard pass play from Kozak that put the South team up 21-7 at halftime.
Chris Gold, the North punter was named the North Defensive MVP for his stellar punting-five punts for a 44.2 yard average, including a 52-yard boomer on his first kick of the third quarter.
Bellwood-Antis grad Matt Plummer was the South team’s tight end on every series of the game, although coach Krider did give him a few plays off every now and then. Plummer had one catch for 12 yards and made a tackle when a Koxak pass was intercepted.
“This was areal enjoyable week, probably the most fun I’ved ever had in practice,” said Plummer. “We made friends iduring the week and we worked hard and it showed. Coach Krider’s plays were so advanced, they (North) didn’t know what was coming.”
Hollidaysburg’ Andy Pugh was named the South Defensive MVP of the game, including two quarterback sacks among his tackles.