BILLINGS — The North and South came into Saturday’s Class B all-star football game on an even playing field. In fact, the series couldn’t be any tighter: The two sides have played 30 all-star games, both have won 15 times.
The North broke that tie and made it 16 victories on Saturday afternoon in Billings. Fairfield’s Ryder Meyer hit Cooper Waters for a 77-yard score on the North’s first play from scrimmage and they never trailed as they hung on for a 41-34 victory on the campus of Rocky Mountain College.
The South would quickly tie the score on a 5-yard touchdown reception from Colstrip’s Jackson Currier, but the North scored on their next two possessions, including a 45-yard run from Meyer, to take a 21-7 lead after one quarter.
The South responded with their own rally in the second. First they punched it in at the goal line, then Three Forks’ Colter Miller connected with Townsend’s Kameron Rauser for a deep score to make it 21-20.
The score remained that way until 30 seconds were left in the first half. Meyer capped a big first half with a bullet to Conrad’s Bridger Russell as the North hung on to a 28-20 lead at the half.
The tide seemed to turn in the second half. The North team fumbled the opening kickoff and it was recovered by the South. Then a few plays later, Townsend’s Tyson Racht found his teammate Rauser for a beautiful 27-yard connection and the South was within two at 28-26.
The North stabilized with a long seven-minute, 63-yard possession. Meyer capped the drive with his third touchdown through the air, as he found Deer Lodge’s Greydon Nicholson with a 10-yard jump ball. The two-point conversion failed and the North settled for a 34-26 lead after the third quarter.
The North’s defense stood tall on the South’s next possession. That gave Meyer and the offense a chance to make it a two-score game midway through the fourth. The North took full advantage with the jumbo package at the goal line. Florence lineman Gabe Bennett took the direct snap and he bowled over the goal line to make it a 41-26 advantage.
The South added a late score, but the North recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock for the 41-34 victory.
Future Montana Grizzly Meyer captured offensive MVP honors as he led the way with four total touchdowns and seemed to come up with big play after big play whenever the South made a charge.
The North now leads the all-time series 16-15.