Rams Enjoyed All-Star Game Experience
The District Four All-Star Football Game may have been a one-sided affair, but for a pair of recently graduated Wyalusing Valley seniors playing for the defeated North squad, it was a fun way to end their gridiron careers.
Both Bryan Kolodziej and Paul Hugo chose not to focus on the fact their team was on the losing end of a 63-20 defeat to the South at South Williamsport’s Rodney K. Morgans Stadium on June 24.
Instead they chose to focus on the positive experience they had playing as teammates with players they have faced for the past four years.
“It was an awesome experience,” Kolodziej said. “They were welcoming. There were no individuals on the team.”
Kolodziej, who saw action on special teams and as a receiver for the North’s offense, finished the game with three kickoff returns for 37 yards and one tackle on a kickoff.
Hugo, who capped a very busy day that included volunteering at the Fore 81 Golf Classic in Wysox from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., was also pleased with the experience.
“It was fun playing with all these guys in the other schools,” he said.
While the final score didn’t reflect the work put in, Hugo was impressed with the job done by the coaching staff in a limited amount of time.
“We had a week of practice trying to get down what we could,” he said. “It was a good group of coaches.”
In what was as close to ideal football weather as late June in north-central Pennsylvania can offer, the South squad totally dominated the first half of play.
With a roster filled with seniors from District Four powerhouses Danville, Selinsgrove, Lewisburg, Mount Carmel and Southern Columbia, the South led 42-0 at halftime.
The South outgained the North, 307 yards to minus-four in the first 24 minutes of the contest.
Led by a dominant performance from its offensive line, the South ran at will.
Danville’s Russel Heath, who was named the game’s Ken Robbins Memorial Most Valuable Player Award winner, earning a $1,000 scholarship, opened the scoring with a one-yard run, capping a 77-yard, nine-play march.
Lewisburg’s Robbie Gaines booted the first of nine extra-points for the South.
Two minutes later, Selinsgrove’s Kyle Reinard scored on a two-yard run.
Later in the first quarter, Shikellamy’s Garrett Pope hit Danville’s Mikeal Owens-Wright with a 20-yard touchdown pass.
Mount Carmel’s Mike Stutzcavage set up the Owens-Wright touchdown with his sack and subsequent fumble recovery at the North 20. Stutzcavage ended up with two sacks on the night.
The South juggernaut continued to pound out yards and points in the second quarter.
Danville’s Anthony Sori scooted 21 yards to pay dirt with 5:52 left in the half.
After Gaines intercepted a North pass, Pope scored on an 11-yard run a minute and a half later.
With 1:31 left in the half, Southern Columbia’s Jake Morton broke off a 27-yard touchdown run.
The North was totally bottled up in the first half with its deepest advance being its own 35 twice.
Heath scored his second touchdown of the night on a 44-yard gallop with 9:24 left in the third quarter, giving the South a 49-0 lead.
The North finally found its offensive footing, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter.
Loyalsock’s James Krizan broke loose behind the South secondary for a 70-yard touchdown pass from his high school teammate Tyler Bogaczyk.
Troy’s Mason Jones booted the extra point with 7:22 left in the third quarter.
Later in the quarter, Wellsboro’s Ethan Callahan pulled down a 16-yard touchdown pass from Bogaczyk.
Jones’s kick cut the deficit to 49-14 with 2:43 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Kolodziej tackled Lewisburg’s Nick Kifolo.
“On my tackle, I was trying to show a little bit of heart and get some more playing time in the fourth quarter,” Kolodziej said.
The South snuffed out the North’s mini-rally with two unanswered scores.
Southern Columbia’s Jake Townsend scored on a 40-yard run and Kifolo added a 17-yard touchdown reception from Pope.
The North came back to score one more time with 23 seconds left in the game on a 65-yard scoring strike from Bogaczyk to Loyalsock’s Conner Shaibley.
Besides Most Valuable Player, several other awards were presented following the game.
Towanda’s Cody Miller and South Williamsport’s Matt Marzzacco each won the Jack Young Memorial Coaches’ Award and received $250 scholarships. Young was the long-time Towanda head coach and the award goes to two North squad players.
The Max Shnyder Awards, presented to two South players, also for $250 scholarships, went to Danville’s Dylan Dailey and Townsend.
Bogaczyk, who threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns, was voted the North’s outstanding offensive player. Williamsport’s Jared Fagnano won the defensive award.
For the South, Sori, who had 71 yards rushing, won the offensive award. Line Mountain’s Joey Hukill was the defensive award recipient.
The game is a fund-raiser for the South Williamsport Lions Club and proceeds support such charities as North Central Sight Services; Camp Victory and Camp Beacon Lodge, which serves sight- and hearing-impaired people; and the South Williamsport High Leo Club, among others.
“It’s a great event and they raise money for good causes,” Hugo observed.