MINNEAPOLIS — More than 90 of the best and brightest high school players from Minnesota took the field at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday for the Minnesota Football Showcase, but it was one of the biggest that gave the South a lead in the fourth quarter.
Offensive lineman Eric Wilson (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) from Benilde-St. Margaret's carried the ball across the goal line on a two-point conversion with 10:11 remaining, sparking a 15-7 victory over the North.
Wilson's two-pointer followed an encroachment penalty during an extra point attempt, and South Head Coach Mike Grant opted to go for 2.
"Well, we had been talking about it at practice, they really wanted me to get some carries close the goal line, so it was really exciting when it finally happened," Wilson said in an interview shown on the stadium's video boards.
Grant had turned to Wilson earlier in the drive, who converted fourth-and-1 by lining up at fullback for a 4-yard gain. The possession began midway through the third quarter and consisted of 14 runs, one incomplete pass and a defensive holding penalty during a pass on fourth-and-2 for a fresh set of downs at the North 7.
Running back Christophor Bain from Grand Meadow scored a touchdown on a 2-yard run to give the South its first score of the game in the fourth quarter.
The North tried to mount a comeback, but Edina defensive back Brock Boltmann intercepted a pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown that was followed by an extra point by East Ridge's Grant Ryerse.
Mankato East defensive back Desmond Bassett recorded an interception to end the North's next possession with 4:22 left, and the South ran 4:18 off the clock before a punt ended the game.
More than 90 of the best and brightest high school players from the state of Minnesota took the field at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday for the Minnesota Football Showcase.
Mankato West quarterback Rob Meidl had a 12-yard run, and East Ridge running back Dominik London delivered a gritty 9-yard gain to convert third-and-8 on the South's final possession.
Wilson was named Offensive MVP, and Boltmann was named Defensive MVP for the South.
Alexandria Area quarterback Jaran Roste had a 26 yard run that helped set up a 7-yard touchdown pass from Roste to Andover receiver Michael Wandmaker with 5:42 left in the first half.
Minneapolis Washburn defensive back D'Angelo Moore also recorded an interception for the South. Moore picked off a pass in the end zone on a fourth-and-6 play to end the North's second possession of the game.
Totino-Grace defensive back Joe Russell was named Defensive MVP, and Elk River running back Sam Gibas was named Offensive MVP of the North.
The Minnesota Football Showcase was the first time that the 44th 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 13-10-1 under the current format.
This year took on the atmosphere of a college bowl game with teams arriving in the Twin Cities on Wednesday and conducting six practices, as well as participating in community activities during the week, and proceeds from the game go to fighting cancer.
Current Vikings receivers Laquon Treadwell and Adam Thielen, and Vikings Legends John Randle, Rickey Young and Dave Osborn signed autographs before the game.
Lakeville North performed as the marching band. St. Thomas Academy provided the Color Guard. Eastview High School provided the dance team, and a collective group of students from Minneapolis Schools sang "America the Beautiful" and the National Anthem.
Cheer teams from Eagan, East Ridge, Edina, Brainerd, White Bear Lake and St. Michael-Albertville also participated.