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South tops North again in Orange County all-star football game

NEWPORT BEACH – The South won the Orange County North-South All-Star Classic football game for the eighth straight time Saturday night, defeating the North 24-7 at Newport Harbor High.

The South leads the series 34-26-3.

Newport Harbor’s Kashton Henjum was named the South MVP. He had two touchdown receptions and finished with five catches for 132 yards.

Christian Guarascio scored the other South touchdown.

Ethan Smithlan of Costa Mesa kicked a 37-yard field goal.

The North’s touchdown was a 9-yard reception by La Habra’s Jacob Apodaca.

“It was great to play one more game at Davidson,” said Henjum, who was a CIF Southern Section Division 6 offensive player of the year this past season. “I’m super lucky. Super lucky.”

The North MVP was Los Alamitos receiver Chase Grosfeld, who finished with five receptions for 89 yards.

The South scored on its game-opening possession, driving 70 yards on nine plays, with Christian Guarascio of Dana Hills, lined up at fullback, taking it in on a 1-yard run.

The North followed with a fine drive of its own. It did not yield points, though. The North went for it on fourth-and-4 at the South 8-yard line. North quarterback Christian Lundsberg of Canyon set up to pass, but South linemen got to him quickly and Guarascio tackled Lundsberg at the 5.

The South bumped its lead to 14-0 with some fancy stuff in the second quarter, a double pass going from Capistrano Valley’s Trey Kukuk to Northwood running back Adam Harper, who threw downfield to a very open Henjum.

Harper threw four touchdown passes from his running back position for Northwood this season.

The South coaches knew all about Harper, who was All-Orange County first team this past season.

“The first day of practice the coach was like, ‘Where’s the Northwood kid?’” Harper said. “We’ve seen your film, we’ve seen you throw and we’re going to do that play.”

Less than 30 seconds later, an interception by Newport Harbor’s Garrett Emerson set up the third South touchdown, a 29-yard pass to Henjum from Edison quarterback Parker Awad.

The North got its only touchdown on a 9-yard pass from Lundsberg to Apodaca with 1:42 left in the second quarter.

Smithlin’s field goal produced the only points of the second half.  An interception by Kaulin Post of Corona del Mar set up the field goal.

Henjum said the South team was a friendly group that bonded during the team’s three weeks of practices.

“When you’ve got good kids, good players and you’ve all got the same goal,” Henjum said, “it’s easy.”

Guarascio was another happy South player.

“I enjoyed the experience,” Guarascio said. “It was a dream, a dream I’m super appreciative of.”

North quarterback Reyn Beal of Yorba Linda completed 11 of 15 passes for 111 yards.

Newport Harbor’s Peter Lofthouse was the South coach. Rick Feldman of Cypress was the North coach.

The game drew a crowd of around 5,500. Anaheim High all-time great running back Mickey Flynn was in attendance and was honored at halftime.

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