CLEARWATER — During the regular season, Seminole’s Teddy Willis got the ball occasionally as a change-of-pace back.
In Wednesday’s Pinellas All-Star Classic, Willis dictated the pace as the featured ball carrier for the North in a 24-13 win over the South.
Getting the ball early and often, Willis responded with 113 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns.
“I didn’t know if I would get the ball that much in the game,” Willis said. “In practice, they were going with (Tarpon Springs’) Darius Daniels a bit more. But as soon I got my chance, I knew I had to make the most of it.”
Willis, the overall MVP of the game, scored his first touchdown on a 4-yard run in the first quarter to give the North a 7-0 lead. He also scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter and on a 4-yard run in the fourth.
“I would love to play in college and this is what I really needed,” Willis said.
St. Petersburg running back Rashad Lewis, the offensive MVP, scored twice to keep the South within striking distance most of the game.
“I felt like I had a pretty good performance,” Lewis said. “I tried to do as much as I could. About the only thing I wish is we could have won the game.”
The South had its chances but misfired on special teams with a field-goal and extra-point attempt blocked, both by Countryside’s Denzel Thompson, the game’s defensive MVP.
The defensive line MVP was Palm Harbor University’s Jared Stippert, who had a sack and tackle for loss in the first half to go along with numerous quarterback pressures. Clearwater Central Catholic’s Chase Vaughn, who paved the way for Willis to gain more than 100 yards, was the offensive line MVP.
Odds and ends: Former Palm Harbor University standout and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Ted Larsen did the coin toss. … Pinellas Park running back Mike Smith received the Mike June Courage Award. … The Seminole band, which played at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, performed at halftime.