MINNEAPOLIS — As of this past weekend, Jaylen Newton wasn't sure where he was going to play college football next season.
Wherever the Cretin-Derham Hall wide receiver ends up, that program will be getting a playmaker.
Newton was the star of the Minnesota Football Showcase on Saturday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium, as he scored three total touchdowns to help the South get a 28-14 victory over the North.
"It was such an honor when I got selected. Honestly, I didn't think I deserved it. I was just so thankful," Newton said "My parents came out, my granny came out, my sisters came out … (I'm thankful) I got the opportunity to show what I could do."
"It was challenging," Newton later added. "It was a lot harder than playing in our conference and stuff. Shoutout to the North team … I promise to this was not easy."
The showcase featured more than 90 of the top high school seniors from across the state of Minnesota.
Newton had eight catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns, and added a 40-yard touchdown pass as he was named the South Offensive MVP.
He started the scoring with a razzle-dazzle play as the South marched 98 yards on a second-quarter scoring drive.
Facing fourth-and-3 from the North 40-yard line, Marshall quarterback Trey Lance threw a pass to Newton behind the line of scrimmage.
But instead of charging ahead for a potential first down, Newton threw deep to Owatonna wide receiver Noah Budach for a 40-yard touchdown.
"That was the highlight because that's my first career high school passing touchdown. I've had a run, a kick return, punt, all that … but I've never had a passing (score)," Newton said. "That was the first time I'd ever passed. I had practiced passing but in a game? Never."
"I was very excited (about the play call). But the first thing, I was praying that I had to catch it because it could be a fumble because it was behind the line," Newton added. "But then I got it and they started rushing at me, so I cocked back and threw it. (Budach) made the dude miss and got in the end zone."
Newton later caught a 7-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter as the South claimed a 14-0 lead.
But the North rallied back behind a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Down two scores, the North got on the board behind a gutsy effort from Otis Weah. The Moorhead running back danced and weaved his way through multiple defenders on a spiffy 18-yard touchdown run with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter.
DeLaSalle running back Sage Booker later tied the game with a 1-yard touchdown run after the North took advantage of a short field with a drive that started at the North 33-yard line.
The stalemate was short-lived as Grand Meadow running back Zach Myhre put the South on top for good with short-yardage success.
Myhre converted on three consecutive runs on fourth-and-short to sustain a fourth-quarter South drive, eventually finding pay dirt on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Newton capped the scoring with a 35-yard touchdown catch with two seconds left on the clock.
Minnetonka linebacker Ty Barron was the South Defensive MVP. Minneapolis North safety Tayler Johnson was the North Defensive MVP while Weah was the North Offensive MVP.
The Minnesota Football Showcase was the second time that the 45th annual Minnesota Football Coaches Association Tackle Cancer All-Star Football Game was held at U.S. Bank Stadium through teamwork by the MFCA and the Vikings.
The South improved to 14-10-1 under the current format.
Blaine running back Byron Bynum, Jr. sang the National Anthem prior to the game, while each Minnesota state champion team were honored by classification at halftime.
Vikings Legends John Randle, Jim Kleinsasser and Mike Morris signed autographs before the game.
"This is what sports are all about, the pure love (of the game)," Kleinsasser said in an interview shown on the stadium's video boards. "This is their last chance to finish off and recap their high school career.
"I remember the tight group of guys we had, the great coaches," Kleinsasser added about his own high school memories. "Just really the family that we had … we all just loved the game and worked hard for each other."
Current Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (2007) and fullback C.J. Ham (2010) both played in the Minnesota Football Showcase. There have been 92 alumni in all who have played or coached in the NFL/AFL, including 18 with the Vikings.