By Kevin Askeland
REDDING --- South coach Mike Mason is making a habit of turning around losing streaks.
In his five years at Lindhurst High School, Mason has taken a program that rarely won a game to five straight playoff appearances and the school's first ever Sac-Joaquin Section championship in 2006.
Mason's latest reclamation project is the South team in the Lions' All-Star Game. The North had won 10 of the past 13 all-star contests, but Mason's crew dominated from start to finish in collecting a lopsided 45-19 win Saturday at Shasta College.
Simon Lamson of Gridley, winner of the Ray Francis Award as the game's most valuable player, led a South rushing attack that racked up 181 yards on 46 carries with Lamson rushing 18 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Jordan Rodgers of Pleasant Valley outdid his brother Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback who guided the South in a 27-26 loss to the North in 2002, by completing 15 of 22 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his TD tosses went to Viking teammate Blake Page, who caught seven passes for 133 yards. The other score went to Oregon-bound Jeffrey Maehl of Paradise.
The South defense also did its part in limiting the North, coached by Mt. Shasta's Joe Blevins, to just 55 yards of total offense, including 8 rushing yards on 36 carries. The North scored just one touchdown on offense, getting another on a kickoff return and a third on a 65-yard fumble return with 16 seconds left in the game.
The South needed just five plays to score the first touchdown of the game. Rodgers hit Page for a 40-yard pass on the first play of the game and four plays later Lamson rambled 16 yards for the score with 13 minutes, 10 seconds left in the first quarter.
The defense forced a punt and the South needed just six more plays to take a 12-0 lead. Rodgers connected with Corey Arnold for a 43-yard gain before finding Page for a 1-yard touchdown pass with 6:16 to go in the opening quarter.
The North rebounded with its best drive of the game. At midfield, quarterback Terry Stangel found Josh McOmber on the left sideline. The Eastern Washington-bound receiver raced all the way to the end zone, but the referees decided that McOmber had stepped out of bounds at the 21.
Jesse Harer got the North in the end zone three plays later with a 13-yard run. He also booted the extra point to cut the South lead to 12-7.
The South answered on its ensuing drive, going 80 yards on seven plays. Rodgers tossed to Mark Woodbury for a 13-yard gain and Page for 14 yards. Lamson ran 17 yards and the North was called for pass interference in the end zone to put the ball at the 2-yard line.
Two plays later, Rodgers lofted the ball to a leaping Maehl from six-yards out on the first play of the second quarter. Lamson's kick gave the South a 19-7 lead.
The North quickly cut the lead to 19-13 when Torsten Waurig ran back the kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.
Lamson and the South offense couldn't be stopped, however. On a 62-yard scoring drive, Lamson carried three times for 43 yards, including an 18-yard run for the score.
The South was able to add a touchdown just 11 seconds before the end of the half to grab a 32-13 lead. Tyree Dickson, the South leader on defense all night long with 10 tackles, intercepted a pass and returned it to the North 23. Two plays later, Rodgers hit Page on a fade pattern in the end zone for a 22-yard scoring toss. Lamson added the kick.
The pace slowed considerably in the second half. Paul Nevarez scored on a 13-yard run for the South for the only score of the third period.
The North blocked the extra point and Patrick Lunney ran it back 80 yards for two points (the all-star game is played using NCAA rules), but an offside penalty nullified the play. Andy Buus then kicked the extra point for a 39-13 advantage.
Following a fumble recovery by Ryan McDowell at North 14, the South added its final touchdown on an 11-yard run by Kinjite King with 6:39 left in the game.
The North scored its final touchdown when Harer picked up a fumble and ran it 65 yards for a touchdown with 16 seconds left in the game.
Zach Gibbins led the North defense with 16 tackles.
The North leads the overall series 16-13-1.
South 45, North 19
South 12 20 7 6 - 45
North 7 6 0 6 - 19
S - Lamson 16 run (kick failed), 13:10
S - Page 1 pass from Rodgers (pass failed), 6:16
N - Harer 13 run (Harer kick), 3:10
S - Maehl 6 pass from Rodgers (Lamson kick), 14:48
N - Waurig 82 kickoff return (run failed) 14:35.
S - Lamson 18 run (kick failed) 13:07
S - Page 22 pass from Rodgers (Lamson kick), :11
S - Nevarez 13 run (Buus kick), 3:54
S - King 11 run (kick failed), 6:39
N - Harer 65 fumble return (pass failed), :16.
North (36-8): Lunney (Mt. Shasta) 5-1, Baldwin (Foothill) 9-19, Embury (Yreka) 4-17, Harer (Modoc) 6-26, Gibbins (Anderson) 2-13, McOmber (West Valley) 1-(-3), Stangel (Los Molinos) 4-(-18), Hernandez (Orland) 5-(-47). South (46-181): Lamson (Gridley) 18-125, King (Lindhurst) 6-24, Nevarez (Live Oak) 9-20, Uhland (East Nicolaus) 2-11, Rodgers (Pleasant Valley) 5-4, Dowden (Chester) 2-0, Dickson (Oroville) 2-1, Catron (Westwood) 1-2.
North (5-13-1-47): Stangel 3-4-1-40, Hernandez 2-8-0-7, Gibbins 0-1-0-0. South (17-26-1-277): Rodgers 15-22-1-230, Ross (Durham) 2-4-0-47.
North (5-47): Gnekow (Enterprise) 2-8, McOmber 2-36, Edgar (Tulelake) 1-3. South (17-277): Page (Pleasant Valley) 7-133, Arnold (Durham) 2-44, Guy (East Nicolaus) 1-41, Woodbury (Pleasant Valley) 3-31, Jones (Lindhurst) 1-6, Harmon (Paradise) 1-18, Maehl (Paradise) 1-6, Lamson 1-(-2).
Note: The Lions All-Star Game includes schools from the Northern Section (not including Winters, Esparto, Delta, and Rio Vista) and including Yuba City, Lindhurst and Marysville from the Sac-Joaquin Section.