by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Zimmerman’s Jamal Samaha made two quarterback sacks as he and three Rogers players helped the North all-stars beat the South 17-7 in the 38th annual prep football all-star game Saturday evening.
Samaha played defensive end while Devin Waters of Rogers was at middle linebacker for the North defense that shut down the South except for one scoring drive at the U of M’s TCF Bank Stadium.
“We had a great time. I feel blessed to be here,” said Samaha, an Augustana recruit. “I played my heart out all through high school, and now I’m here.”
Samaha got his first sack on the opening series, a 3rd-and-9 play, as he exploded out of his stance a yard upfield, cut inside the O-tackle and had a clear shot at the QB, Billy Gregg of Hopkins, crushing him at full speed for a five-yard loss.
“Best feeling ever,” he said.
Late in the half, with South first-and-10 on the North 16, Samaha again made a quick move past the tackle and snagged QB Parson Jameson of Eagan around the ankles for an 11-yard loss. That helped foil a promising drive that ended with a missed field goal.
The North offense included Rogers players Derek Vidor at wide receiver and Peter Stanley at center.
Vidor, who’ll play at St. Thomas, caught one first-down pass early in the game and otherwise “just made some blocks to open holes for the running backs” most of the time after that.
Stanley, who’ll play at St. Scholastica, played every down at center while most of the all-stars rotated with both squads two-deep at most positions.
“I was actually only center on the team,” said Stanley. “We did have a backup (at another position but he was only going in if I was getting tired, and I felt good the entire game.”
Stanley alternately blocked Daniel Simon of New Ulm Cathedral, Trevor Lueders of Glencoe-Silver Lake and Brennan Cable of Marshall. He snapped to Mahtomedi’s Dan Ferrazzo and Blaine’s Eric Kline.
The Royals beat Ferrazzo’s Zephyrs in the state semifinals at the Metrodome.
“He was a really cool guy and he had no hard feelings,” said Stanley.
Waters, signed by St. Cloud State as a defensive lineman, was stationed at middle linebacker because the North squad had enough defensive ends and needed him in the midle. Waters also kicked off, something he hadn’t done for Rogers since ninth grade.
“I’ll play where they need me,” said Waters. About the week, he said, “We put in a lot of hard work in two-a-days, but when the game starts, it’s all fun and games.”
North was coached by Ron Stolski of Brainerd and South was coached by Dave Nelson of Minnetonka. Each had five assistants.
North led 7-0 at halftime on a three-yard run by Brainerd’s Jordan Hayes, and made it 14-0 in the third period when Morris Area’s Eric Riley intercepted a pass and returned it 34 yards for a TD. South got on the board on a five-yard pass from Gregg to Winona’s Ryan Woodard.