With ideal weather conditions, the 49th annual Ken Lantzy All-Star Classic was played before a large, enthusiastic crowd on Friday night at Greater Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium.
The South, which won 28-21 with a fourth-quarter drive, now holds a 27-22 edge in the game, which began in 1971.
A late start on Friday night due to pre-game activities, had the game itself running slightly longer than it has the past few years, but that could also be because the two squads combined for close to 800 yards of total offense.
The lottery system that began a few seasons back, had head coaches, Don Fyfe of Shade from the South and United’s Kevin Marabito for the North, choosing the schools that they wanted to play for their respective squads. That seems to be working out well because the games over the past few seasons have been very competitive and entertaining.
On Friday night, South quarterback Brady Fyfe of Shade finished 7 of 12 passing for 166 yards with an interception while his South teammate, Macen Akers of Everett, added 53 yards (4-for-10). Fyfe rushed for a team-high 58 yards and Akers added 49. Three receivers – Shade’s Dawson Snyder (92 yards), Jared McGill of Chestnut Ridge (73) and Jude Gdula of Blacklick Valley (41) – had two catches each.
For the North, Ligonier Valley’s John Caldwell was 13 of 28 passing for 142 yards with one interception while Richland’s Joe Hauser went 8 of 16 for 121 yards and had two picks.
Northern Cambria’s Ben Vasil led the North’s rushing attack with nine carries for 70 yards while Brendan Mondi of West Shamokin added 47 yards on nine carries and Camden Moors of Westmont Hilltop had 10 carries for 34 yards.
Aaron Tutino of Ligonier Valley had a game-high eight receptions for 139 yards while Damon Maul of Cambria Heights added five catches for 46 yards and Jake Shope of Forest Hills had 45 yards on five receptions.
The Lantzy marching band, which began a few years ago, was impressive as far as the repertoire of music that it performed, and the addition of the cheerleading squads added a nice element that rounded out the event, which for the players will be their final time under high school’s Friday night lights.
Family ties: Berlin Brothersvalley coach Doug Paul served as an assistant coach for the South squad this week.
Paul has a 2-2 record in Lantzy games that he has coached, with one coming on Friday in his son, Isaiah’s, last high school contest. His other victory was when older son, Dante, now playing for Clarion University, was a part of his roster.
Big Reds prevail: West Middlesex eliminated Bishop McCort from the PIAA Class A playoffs 6-3 on Tuesday at West Mifflin, but lost a valuable member of their squad during the game.
Senior shortstop Ricky Ladjevich was called out on strikes in the sixth inning and ejected for questioning the call by home plate umpire Fred Orozo. As per PIAA policy, Ladjevich was not eligible to play in his team’s next game, the championship against Greenwood.
“(Orozo) just said (Ladjevich) argued balls and strikes and he’s not allowed to do it, is what (Orozo) said to me,” said coach Kevin Hoffman after the game. But it’s like what you say in every sport – it’s next man up. ... Whomever I put out there defensively, I’ll have confidence in them. ... But anytime you take a .450 hitter out of your lineup, it’s gonna hurt you.”
But the loss of Ladjevich from the lineup served as motivation for West Middlesex, which went on to defeat Greenwood 2-1 in the title game and bring home the school’s first baseball crown.
According to The Sharon Herald, Ladjevich did receive his gold medal.
Out of sync: You know you are having a bad day when you flip a group of scores from under high school baseball to high school softball and vice versa, and don’t realize it until someone calls in to comment on it the next day.