CEDAR FALLS — The final score was 24-13 in favor of the South squad in the 47th annual Iowa Shrine all-star football game Saturday in the UNI-Dome.
But if you ask the three metro players who participated for the North squad — Cedar Falls’ Jackson Leistikow, Columbus’ Kaden Ludwig and Waterloo West’s Tanner Pollock — the final result wasn’t what mattered most.
“It really wasn’t about us. I mean I will have bonds with these guys I met this week for the rest of my life, but it is about the kids and raising money for them,” said Pollock, who played safety and will do the same at Drake University this fall. “Raising over $100,000 is something special.”
Ludwig and Leistikow said a lasting memory was a mini-camp that both teams held for children who participate in Shriner Hospital programs on Friday.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Ludwig, who will play football and run track at Upper Iowa. “We got to interact with them, have fun with them. That was special.”
“It was a great experience,” added Leistikow, who started at right guard for the North and will continue his career at Northern Iowa. “It puts things in perspective as far as life.”
As for the game, the South dominated, leading 17-0 at halftime, and it was 24-0 before the North found the end zone twice in the fourth quarter.
The South turned the ball over three times before West Branch’s Beau Cornwell hit Durant’s Mason Compton for a 41-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter to start the scoring, and Waukee’s Zach Eaton hauled in a 51-yard pass from Pella’s Ryan Gustafsen for another score.
Pella Christian’s Nathan DeBruin added a 19-yard field goal in the second quarter for the South, and South defensive MVP Landon Green of Iowa City West recovered a fumble in the end zone midway through the third quarter that made it 24-0.
Michael Storey of Spencer caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Fort Dodge’s Drake Miller to put the North on the scoreboard four seconds into the fourth, and North Offensive MVP Kyler Fisher of Southeast Valley scored on an 11-yard run. Fisher, unofficially, had 115 rushing yards.
The North’s defensive MVP was Dubuque Senior’s Nick Kubitz.
Among the highlights for the South were Ludwig’s second-quarter interception of Gustafsen at the North 37. Ludwig, playing a safety position, read Gustafsen’s eyes and stepped in front of the intended receiver with 8:23 left to half.
“I kind of saw the slot slow down a little, and the quarterback pumped so I knew it was coming,” Ludwig said. “I tripped. It should’ve been a pick-six.”
Pollock injured his right hamstring in the second quarter when he thwarted a 51-yard run by West Des Moines Dowling’s Jayson Murray, the South’s offensive MVP, and missed the rest of the game.
The victory by the South was its 10th in the last 14 games, and the South now leads the all-time series, 24-22-1.
South 24, North 13
South 7 10 7 0 — 24
North 0 0 0 13 — 13
South — Mason Compton 41 pass from Beau Cornwell (Nathan DeBruin kick), 1:59.
South— DeBruin 19 FG, 12:37.
South — Zach Eaton 51 pass from Ryan Gustafson (DeBruin kick), 2:09.
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South — Landon Green fumble recovery in end zone (DeBruin kick), 5:35.
North — Michael Storey 1 pass from Drake Miller (pass failed), 14:56.
North — Kyler Fisher 11 run (Ben Steffens kick), 2:44.
First downs 11 13
Rushes-yards 31-122 54-119
Passing yards 186 60
Passes 10-23-3 9-22-1
Return yards 0 17
Penalties-yards 8-43 2-15
Punts-avg. 6-43.4 9-41.2
Fumbles-lost 1-1 5-1
SOUTH — Jayson Murray 6-47, Tristan Waugh 1-8, Gage Hazen-Faber 14-67, Desmond Alexander 3-8, Gustafsen 2-3, Cornwell 4-minus 11, Noah Treimer 1-0.
NORTH — Fisher 15-115, J.T. Van’t Hul 13-3, Brayden Wright 2-minus 3, Miller 7-minus 14, Team 3-minus 27, Matt Davis 13-49.
SOUTH — Cornwell 7-10-1, 92 yards Gustafsen 3-13-2, 94 yards .
NORTH — Miller 3-7-1, 9 yards. Van’t Hul 6-15-0, 51 yards.
SOUTH — Carter Bell 1-5, Waugh 1-13, Compton 2-51, Murray 2-6, Richie Griglione III 3-50, Eaton 1-51.
NORTH — Jared Birks 3-29, Andrew Saunders 2-20, Storey 3-10, Fisher 1-1.