After an embarrassing 49-0 loss last season, the Chamber Bowl North All-Stars wanted to make things right.
The North All-Stars showed flashes of the same kind of dominance they were on the wrong end of in 2011, scoring 27 unanswered points and holding off a late rally to defeat the South 30-22 in the fourth annual Chamber Bowl on Saturday at Lambert High School.
The all-time series between the two squads, which feature some of the top seniors from Forsyth County and Fulton County, now stands even at 2-2.
"We challenged our boys to come out and play hard," said Lambert head coach Sid Maxwell, who led the North All-Stars this season.
"The coaching staff did a great job to have them prepared and ready on both sides of the ball. It’s just amazing when you have so many coaches and players from [different] schools [practicing] in about [a] four-day period.
"We kept the plan simple, but at the same time we had some pretty good players carry out the plan."
The North All-Stars got on the scoreboard first with a 42-yard field goal from Vince Sciorrotta (North Forsyth) but trailed 7-3 after one quarter.
The game was ultimately decided in the second period, when the North outscored the South 21-0.
The North took a lead it would not relinquish with a 13 play, 63-yard capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by North Georgia Falcons athlete Michael Randle (10 carries, 43 rushing yards; 61 receiving yards), who was named offensive MVP for the game.
The North All-Stars padded the lead to 21-3 later in the period on a 19-yard touchdown run from Northview running back Terrence Upshaw.
West Forsyth defensive back Josh Gordon intercepted a pass on the South squad’s ensuing drive, and North All-Star quarterback Jantzen Jeffrey (South Forsyth) ran the ball in from 18 yards out with 17.4 seconds remaining to give his team a 24-7 advantage at the half.
Another South turnover in the third quarter allowed North quarterback Skye Overton (Johns Creek) to find Randle for a 33-yard touchdown pass across the middle that boosted the score to 30-7.
"I really just loved the experience," Overton said. "It was a fun game. [The receivers] made it look easy for me since they were open.
"It was a great feeling to get on the gridiron one last time."
The North’s 23-point lead began to shrink in the fourth quarter, as the South strung together a nine-play, 62-yard scoring drive capped off on a zone option keeper from quarterback Chase Rosenberg (Centennial). Casey Bradley (Blessed Trinity) then dove into the end zone for the two-point conversion to make the score 30-15 with 11:11 left on the clock.
South head coach Terry Crowder (Chattahoochee) called an onside kick and was rewarded possession after Lorenzo McWilliams II (Chattahoochee) emerged from pile with the football.
Two plays later, the North team reclaimed momentum after defensive MVP Denny Victor (Johns Creek) intercepted a pass at the line of scrimmage.
The North squad couldn’t gain a first down and was forced to punt, but the punter was unable to secure the snap and South took over on the North 34 yard line.
Quarterback Ryan Monty (Roswell) marched South down the field in six plays, with the last coming on a 15-yard touchdown strike to Joel Clay (Chattahoochee) to cut the advantage to 30-22 with 6:37 remaining.
South, with two timeouts remaining, elected to kick off rather than try another onside kick.
Overton (9 of 14, 166 passing yards, one touchdown) picked up a key first down on a 17-yard strike to Randle as the North squad milked the clock.
South eventually got the ball back with less than 30 seconds to play, but could only advance it to the North 38-yard line before time expired.
South Forsyth defensive back Zach LaFlamme paced the North All-Stars as they forced four interceptions and two fumbles.
The senior intercepted two passes and nearly had a third with a less than a minute left in the fourth quarter.
"It all happened so fast," LaFlamme said. "The ball was coming to me. I should have gotten the third [interception] — that one was the easiest one.
"Throughout the week our practices were crisp. All the coaches and players really did their part. We did what we had to do."