Call it rookie hazing.
The veterans of the inaugural FCA All-Star Football Classic, the South, took advantage of their familiarity with the format, treating the North to a 29-7 loss in front of a packed crowd Saturday at Pioneer Valley High.
It was the first meeting between the visiting North, which was made up seniors from the seven San Luis Obispo County schools from the PAC 7 and Los Padres Leagues, and the South, their counterparts from Northern Santa Barbara County.
Though the game was the first of its kind in decades, the South is a 43-year veteran of a Kiwanis all-star game pitting it against a team from Southern Santa Barbara County.
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And the South looked right at home.
Lompoc running back Marcel Blow earned MVP honors after rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and his Braves teammate — quarterback Abie Luna — was the offensive player of the game after passing for 79 yards and another touchdown, while the North was plagued by untimely errors.
A fumbled second-half shotgun snap led to an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone against Morro Bay quarterback Sam Crizer, and the resulting safety for the South helped them put the game away.
The North also lost two fumbles, one in the red zone to kill a potential scoring drive and another on a second-half punt return that indirectly led to a score for the South.
When the North did make some breaks, it seemed to backfire.
With the score tied at 7 heading into the third quarter, Arroyo Grande’s Derek Johnson intercepted a fourth-down pass by Luna at the North’s 2-yard line.
After a 6-yard run by Crizer gave the North some breathing room, a low snap got past the quarterback, who flicked a desperate pass attempt inches off the ground from 8 yards deep in the end zone.
Receiving the ball after the safety, Santa Maria fullback Terrell Dillon gave the South a 15-7 lead with a 1-yard touchdown dive.
Blow added a 5-yard touchdown run near the end of the third quarter, and Luna hit Cabrillo’s Jordan Watson on a 38-yard touchdown pass in the fourth.
The South looked every bit the exhibition veteran right from the start.
Blow racked up 96 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown run, on his first five carries, helping the South take a 7-0 lead. Having so much success on the ground, Luna did not even attempt a pass in the first quarter.
The North rotated three quarterbacks — Paso Robles’ Jacob Searcy, Atascadero’s Jesse Whitten and Crizer — all within the first quarter.
Searcy had the best success early, hitting San Luis Obispo’s Mason Orradre on a 39-yard bomb down the left sideline in an attempt to strike back after Blow’s touchdown run.
Searcy lofted a high-arcing pass, and Orradre outjumped his defender, batting the ball into the air and catching it on the way down.
But with the North on a first-and-goal at the 8-yard line, Searcy was unable to hang on to a botched center exchange that the South recovered to end the scoring threat.
The North, however, was finally able to bottle up Blow.
On six carries after racking up 96 yards, the North front, led by 6-foot-2, 250-pound Paso Robles standout Bo Bonnheim, took some yards back, limiting Blow to minus-4 yards.
On its best field position of the first half, the North parlayed a fourth-and-long for the South and a solid punt return by Arroyo Grande’s Garrett Coleman into a first-and-10 at the South 24-yard line with 3:28 left before the half.
Searcy atoned for the fumble with a 16-yard touchdown scramble to tie the score at 7 after two quarters.