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Lezzer Lumber Classic sets record for total scoring, South total yardage

Last hurrah
The 24th annual Lezzer Lumber Classic was the final high school football game for seven local athletes, this past weekend. Tyrone’s Josh Bradley, Brandon Gehret and Shayne Tate, and Bellwood-Antis’ Bruno DeGol. Brandon Humphreys, Alan Wertz and Justin Miller played for the South squad in their team’s 44-36 victory at the Bison Sports Complex in Clearfield on Friday night.
Pictured above with Tyrone coach Chuck Banas, who was an assistant coach for the South, are first row (left to right) Justin Miller, Coach Banas, and Brandon Gehret. Back row: Brandon Humphreys, Shayne Tate, Bruno DeGol, Josh Bradley and Alan Wertz. (The Daily Herald/File Photo)

The 24th annual Lezzer Lumber Football Classic was played on Friday evening, with seven members of the victorious South Squad from Tyrone and Bellwood-Antis.
Prior to the game, Game Director Jack Bailey was heard to say that he “was hoping for a 35-34 game, with lots of action.”
Bailey and every one who witnessed the offensive display should have been more than satisfied, with the South jumping out to a big lead and the North coming back to make it close in a 44-36 win for the South, coached by Gawen Stoker, who is retiring from teaching and coaching from Indian Valley, and got the “W” in his last coaching assignment.
Brandon Gehret, Josh Bradley and Shayne Tate represented Tyrone in the game, and Brandon Humphreys, Bruno DeGol, Alan Wertz and Justin Miller from Bellwood-Antis all saw considerable action.
The game was played with 15-minute first and third quarters and 12-minute second and fourth quarters and took more than three hours to complete.
“This week and the game was just so much fun,” said Shayne Tate, who was named the South defensive MVP, and several times nearly separated the runners head from his body on terrific hits for tackles. “It was especially to get a win and play my last high school game with these guys, it was a lot of fun.”
Most of the local athletes spent the majority of their time on defense, although Tate had his number called on offense twice in the third quarter for a total of 16 yards.
Records were set for combined points (80) and the South’s total offense of 517 yards broke the old mark of 1990 set by the North with 441 yards.
The South used its advantage in speed to turn a 12-12 tie with just over five minutes to play in the second quarter, into a 31-12 advantage, by scoring four straight times, two at the end of the first half, and the first two scores of the third quarter.
“This was a bunch of great athletes, coming together. We really meshed well, and quite quickly,” said Justin Miller. “The first day of practice really, we were already forming bonds. It was great we won this game – The South will rise again!”
The North, with the passing of Bellefonte quarterback Ryan Poorman, and a Classic game rule that allows a team trailing by at least nine points to get the ball back again after scoring, got back to within eight points, 44-36, with 1:35 to play, but the South recovered an attempted on-sides kick to preserve the win.
Hollidaysburg’s Patrick Smith was a key in the South victory, connecting on two of four passes for 103 yards, connecting with Bishop Guilfoyle’s Logan McDannell on a 60-yard touchdown pass and running for two scores and kicking two extra points.
The South used several big plays for their scoring, but also took advantage of good field position to score four of the touchdowns from midfield, or just beyond.
“This week meant everything. We had a great season for Bellwood-Antis, but it was good to go with all the all-stars and give us a chance to play with and against all these great athletes,” said Brandon Humphreys.
The two teams started slowly, with the South providing the only score of the first quarter, driving from the N-47 in five plays. Jay Hartman got loose for 19 yards on the first play of the second series on offense for the South, and Indian Valley teammate Thad Rosenberry raced 23 yards, two plays later. Brad Nocek of Hollidaysburg bulled the final yard behind his big offensive line for the score with 8:59 left in the opening stanza.
“It was a good week to have fun, final high school game of my career,” said Josh Bradley. “It was good to play with all these great players and one last chance to play with my high school teammates.”
Each team scored a pair in the second quarter to give the South a six-point 18-12 lead at the halftime intermission.
The Philipsburg-Osceola Mountie duo of quarterback Bo Reifer and wide out J. D. Mason hooked up for the first North score, and State College running back Terna Ityokumbal went the final yard to cap six-play drive for the second North tally.
In between the two North scores, the Indian Valley connection of quarterback Jarrett Kratzer and wide receiver Jay Hartman collaborated on a 49-yard TD pass with 7:56 remaining in the half.
“This was a lot of fun, playing with the people we competed against all the time,” explained Bruno DeGol.
With the nature of all-star contests, there were no kickers named, and the job of punting and kicking off and kicking, or rather trying to kick extra points, was handled by committee, until finally the South’s Smith booted a pair of PATs in the third quarter, when the South jumped out to their 38-12 lead.
First, Nocek scampered 25 yards for the big play and Smith carried twice for 16 yards, including the five-yard TD.
Then, Nick Milardo of Hollidaysburg, went seven yards for a score for the South with 10:35 to play in the third quarter after a Kratzer to Harman reception moved the ball 35 yards, just a play after Tate blasted nine yards on the first of his two carries.
“It was an honor to play with the greatest players on the teams in the South area, Altoona, Indian Valley, BG, it is just a real honor,” said Alan Wertz.
The North then scored a TD on a five-yard run by Punxsutawney’s Austin Furman, that was set up by pass completions of 14 yards from Ryan Poorman of Bellefonte to Ityokumbal, and 28 yards from Poorman to Mason.
Then taking advantage of the nine-point mercy rule, the North received the following kick and swiftly drove for another TD. Ityokumbal carried three times for 19 yards and Alex Kerr of Brookville, capped the drive with an 18-yard TD reception from Poorman, who completed 13 of 17 for 181 yards, one score and one interception.
Shane Heschke of Brookville, ran in two two-point conversions for the North and Brookville teammate Joe Galbreath added another in the North’s bid to come back in the second half.
“This is probably the last time I will ever play football,” said Brandon Gehret. “It was fun bonding with everyone from all the different schools, the camaraderie, everyone plays.”
Each team would pit one more score on the board in the last five and a half minutes to set up the on-sides kick that was recovered safely by the South.
Thad Rosenberry of Indian Valley, bolted 44 yards for the key play and Smith covered the final two yards for the South on a quarterback keeper.
Poorman completed four passes to move the ball into scoring position for the North, before Ityokumbal scored from three yards out and Galbreath’s two-point conversion closed the score to 44-36 with 1:35 left.
Along with the four Bellwood-Antis and three Tyrone players in the game for the South, in addition head coach Stoker choose as one of his assistants for the Classic, Chuck Banas, who is on the staff of head Tyrone coach John Franco.
“To be selected to help in this game, means a lot. First of all, to be picked as part of the staff from your peers is great,” said Banas. “And to meet all these kids and see how they come together and to help them get ready to move on to the collegiate level, because that’s what they all are going to be facing.
“They have been playing with the same kids for three years in a row and now they are thrown in with all these everybody. These kids just came together and worked hard, You could tell they just wanted it. I’m glad to be part of it, and glad it’s going to help them make that next leap adjustment-to the college level.”