FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With about five minutes remaining in Friday’s Shriners All-Star football game at Gillette Stadium, Tyllor MacDonald knew his team need a big play. The North squad was trailing the South, 14-10, and driving into North territory.
That’s when the Lynn English standout laid a wicked hit on North Attleborough’s Dan Johnson, prying the ball free. MacDonald capped the play by falling on the loose ball and gaining possession for the North.
North quarterback Cal Carroll of Methuen took care of the rest, leading the team on a 13-play drive to victory that he capped with a 1-yard touchdown run to the North a 17-14 victory.
“As saw [Johnson] coming across the middle and I hit him as hard as I could,” MacDonald said of his game-changing play. “I just knew that I had to. I had to pick my team up.”
With the ball back in his hands, Carroll led North downfield, completing two key pass attempts for 37 yards on the drive. The Rangers’ signal-caller found Everett’s Matt Costello, ESPN Boston’s inaugural Mr. Football Award winner, for a 22-yard connection on third and 16. Two plays later, Carroll hit BB&N’s Peter Savarese with a 15-yard pass to give North a first down and goal at the South 5-yard line.
Carroll then punched in the game-winning score with 1:33 remaining.
“I think once we connected on that third and long, I think we really felt like we were going to pull through in the red zone,” Carroll said.
Trae Weathers provided the counterpunch to North’s aerial attack, which was quarterbacked by both Carroll and Dracut’s Matt Silva. The bruising Revere running back was named the North’s Offensive MVP following his 12-carry, 70-yard performance, forming part of a talented backfield alongside Gloucester’s Jordan Shairs.
“We saw the ISO was working,” Weathers said. “We were just trying to pound it in. It’d been working all game, so we just stuck with it.”
Not to be overlooked was North’s defense, which racked up five sacks including three consecutive sacks of Holliston’s Sean Mayo to negate South’s final drive of the game, sealing the win.
The Dexter School’s Jake Giovanucci capped the performance with two sacks in the final minute. Billerica’s Justin Hood, Lynn Classical’s Daniel Omorgie and Gloucester’s Chris Unis collected sacks for North.
“We really came together as a unit the last two weeks in practice,” Giovanucci said. “We had a lot of really skilled guys. It’s tough to block four skilled pass rushers. Someone might get the sack, but the other guys were taking up blockers.”
South opened scoring with Mayo connecting on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Attleboro’s Nate Robitaille with 6:49 remaining in the first quarter.
Carroll came back to tie the game with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Tewksbury’s Anthony Acari with 9:25 to play in the second. Costello added the extra point to tie the game, 7-7.
North would take the lead into the locker room at halftime following James Brao’s 24-yard field goal with 5:01 remaining.
South reclaimed the lead four minutes into the third quarter with Scituate’s Tyler Park connecting with Cohasset’s Jack Carrier on a 15-yard touchdown pass.