Long after the South beat the North 24-14 in Saturday night’s Tri-County All-Star Football Game in Manheim, somebody asked Zach Zweizig and Demetrius Dixon — teammates for a night, and teammates in the future — to pose on the field for a photo.
In truth, both had already given anyone who might happen to follow Lafayette something to picture.
Both will play for the Leopards beginning this fall, and both had a large hand in Saturday’s proceedings. Zweizig, the quarterback from Wilson, ran for one touchdown and threw for another to stake his team to a 17-0 lead, and Dixon, a wide receiver from Penn Manor, caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from Pequea Valley’s Ben Myers with two minutes left to ice the game.
“It’s great to be able to play this time of year,” Zweizig said. “Everyone was talking before the game: It’s just weird. It feels like a Friday night.”
And while there was the expected sloppiness at times, both sides played for keeps. Julian Carabello, Zweizig’s Wilson teammate, gathered in a pass from his fellow Bulldog inside the 5 early in the third quarter, then fought his way through three tacklers and into the end zone, completing a 35-yard scoring play.
And two plays into the fourth quarter, South cornerback Drake Brumfield (Donegal) made a fourth-down stop of Hempfield’s Julian Alicea at the 1, with his team holding a 17-7 lead. Brumfield later had an interception as well.
“That’s why these kids are here,” said South coach Matt Zamperini, the Garden Spot boss. “These kids are here because they have the internal drive to be great football players.”
“Everyone’s here, competing to win,” Zweizig said. “It’s the best players from every school in the L-L League. We’re just very competitive.”
Zweizig, who went 7-for-13 for 99 yards through the air and ran seven times for 41 yards, engineered a 14-play, 92-yard drive the first time the South had the ball. There were some hairy moments, though. On more than one occasion early in the march he turned to hand the ball off, only to find the back going in another direction. So he took off.
“I tried to get as much as possible,” he said.
Once that resulted in a gain of 18. Another time he ran for 14.
Still later he and Penn Manor’s Teon Lee hooked up on a 31-yard pass play to the 4. Three plays after that, Zweizig ran it in from the 2.
Lampeter-Strasburg’s Chris Garraffa added a 27-yard field goal early in the second quarter, and Zweizig combined with Carabello for the 35-yard TD early in the third, making it 17-0.
But the North’s Brandon Artman (Manheim Central) returned the ensuing kickoff 49 yards to the South 40. Alicea (10-57 rushing) ripped off gains of 21 and 14 yards on toss sweeps amid a six-play march that culminated in a two-yard touchdown run by Kevin Coleman (Manheim Township) with 5:12 left in the period.
Brumfield made his big fourth-down stop the next time the North had the ball, but with 3:22 left in the game Andy Breault (Elizabethtown) scrambled to his left before lofting a 34-yard TD pass to Elco’s Tyler George.
That cut the gap to 17-14. The South was set back by a penalty on its next possession, and Manheim Township’s Alex Vigilante threw McCaskey’s Markeith Williams for a seven-yard loss, making it second-and-22.
But Myers fired downfield to Dixon, who caught the ball at the 20 despite the coverage of Annville-Cleona’s Josh Henning and continued to the end zone.
Zamperini said the play call was a “no-brainer,” given how much the North was selling out against the run. And certainly Dixon was happy about the decision.
“I just got the opportunity to make the play,” he said. “When I get the opportunity, I thrive on that.”
And once he did, it was all over but the photo op.