FORT WORTH — Texas Tech football fans wanting to know what kind of contributions the incoming freshman class can make got a good glimpse Tuesday night.
Whitehouse receiver Dylan Cantrell helped lead the North team to a 39-29 victory over the South in the 79th Annual Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Football Game by catching nine passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
Just four days before he undertakes his first practices as a Red Raider (on Saturday), Cantrell showed why Tech coaches have told him they do not plan on redshirting him.
“I’m excited,” Cantrell said. “Hopefully (fans) saw a little of what I can do on the next level and what I can do in the next four or five years at Tech.
“Saturday is going to be crazy and I’m excited. The coaches ... are the most energized coaching staff in the country, I promise you. We’re excited, the fan base is crazy and we’re looking forward to this year.”
Cantrell’s night would have been record-breaking if not for teammate Jabryce Taylor, an SMU signee from Lufkin who set a new all-star game record with 226 receiving yards on 10 catches, three of which went for touchdowns. The previous record was 177 yards held by Percy Waddle from Columbus.
Cantrell scored both his touchdowns in the second half of a game played at TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium. He caught a 69-yarder from Nic Shimonek from Corsicana Mildred in the third quarter and a game-sealing 12-yarder from Stephenville’s Tyler Jones midway through the fourth quarter.
The other future Red Raider playing in the game, Southlake Carroll safety Tanner Jacobson, also made an impact, picking off a pass in the second quarter that set up Taylor’s second touchdown catch of the game, a 64-yarder. Taylor also had a 24-yard and a 51-yard touchdown catch.
Cantrell was also effective on special teams, averaging 38.8 yards on five punts with one touchback and another inside the 20.
On the area side, Seth Reagan of Idalou had three tackles for the North, while Frenship kicker Josh Sparkman shook off some early struggles to help his team ice the game in the end.
Sparkman’s first three PAT kicks resulted in one wide right and two blocked. But he finished with three straight made PAT kicks, and was nailing kickoffs into the end zone to force the South into long drives for its touchdowns.
“It was tough,” Sparkman said. “I haven’t kicked off grass since my freshman year, and it takes time to build that relationship between snap, hold and kick. It’s tough to have three guys who never met before get it all down in three or four days. I’m still learning to kick off the ground and everything. It’s been a learning curve, but I’m working on it and getting there.”
The Black trailed 22-18 early in the fourth but scored on consecutive drives — Taylor’s 51-yard catch from Stamford’s Hagen Hutchinson, and Cantrell’s 12-yarder from Jones, to take a 32-21 lead.
After the South pulled within 32-29, the North iced it when Shimonek ran it in from 9 yards out with 2:12 remaining.
The North wasted no time getting on the scoreboard with what would turn out to be its best drive of the game. Cantrell caught three passes for 23 yards on the drive that ended with a Jones-to-Taylor touchdown.
But Sparkman missed the PAT kick wide right, leaving the North with a 6-0 lead.
From there the teams traded possessions, with the North getting the first turnover when Muenster’s Andy Flusche recovered a fumble by South quarterback Kadarius Baker of Navasota at the North 29.
But the North could do nothing with the ball, and the South took advantage to take the lead.
Luis Lopez of San Diego capped a 16-play, 77-yard drive with a 14-yard run with 10:34 left in the second quarter.
The South’s next drive ended when Jacobson picked off Baker and returned it to the North 36. On the very next play, Demarcus Ayers took the pitch on a reverse and hit Taylor for a 74-yard touchdown pass. Sparkman’s PAT was blocked, leaving the North with a 12-7 lead.
But the South didn’t let the lead last long. Two passes by South quarterback Jake Hubenak of Georgetown to Yoakum’s Keith Ratley for 45 and 33 yards put the South back in the end zone for a 14-12 lead at 6:18 before halftime.
The North’s next drive ended with a punt from midfield, and the South marched to the North 37 before missing a 54-yard field goal with 18 seconds left in the half.
Cantrell finished the first half with four catches for 31 yards.
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NORTH 39, SOUTH 29
South 0 14 0 15 — 29
North 6 6 6 21 — 39
NORTH — Jabryce Taylor 24 pass from Tyler Jones (kick failed); 9:04
SOUTH — Luis Lopez 14 run (Zane Gonzalez kick); 10:34
NORTH — Taylor 74 pass from Demarcus Ayers (kick blocked); 6:49
SOUTH — Keith Ratley 33 pass from Jake Hubenak (Gonzalez kick); 6:18
NORTH — Dylan Cantrell 70 pass from Nic Shimonek (kick blocked); 1:30
SOUTH — Trevicea Johnson 4 run (Gonzalez kick); 10:15
NORTH — Taylor 51 pass from Hagen Hutchinson (Josh Sparkman kick); 8:23
NORTH — Cantrell 12 pass from Jones (Sparkman kick); 6:20
SOUTH — Darvin Kidsy 32 pass from Hubenak (Ratley pass from Hubenak); 4:58
NORTH — Shimonek 9 run (Sparkman kick); 2:12
First downs 27 21
Rushes-yards 34-121 42-129
Passing yards 334 417
Comp.-att.-int. 27-45-1 23-32-0
Punts-avg. 4-40.5 5-38.8
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-25 5-37
RUSHING: North, Tyler Jones 9-79, Connor Davis 4-15, Demarcus Ayers 1-11, Vandy Parkes 5-5, Hagen Hutchinson 1-1, Edwin Mims 2-1; South, Trevicea Johnson 17-82, Luis Lopez 7-46, Jake Hubenak 5-7, Kadarius Baker 4-3.
PASSING: North, Jones 11-14-0—106, Nic Shimonek 8-9-0—172, Hutchinson 3-8-0—75, Demarcus Ayers 1-1-0—64; South, Hubenak 19-27-0—294, Baker 8-18-1—40.
RECEIVING: North, Jabryce Taylor 10-226, Dylan Cantrell 9-183, Davis 2-7, Ayers 2-1; South, J’Marcus Rhodes 8-72, Keith Ratley 7-165, Darvin Kidsy 6-73, Derek Shedd 2-10, Johnson 2-7, Jason Washington 1-4, Mark Roman 1-3.