Over the season we at Scout.com have plenty of time to see players in person, break down film and get a feel for players, but it’s not until you take them out of their environment and put them on the field with other stars until you really see them excel. This is where we talk about the players who we thought were really at the top of their class at each position.
North – Matt Johnson, Bishop McDevitt HS – Johnson is committed to Bowling Green and without any offense intended toward the Falcons, I simply don’t understand how they’re getting a signal caller this good. I watched Johnson play in high school and he was already cool as a cucumber, but from now on his nickname is “Matty Ice” as far as I’m concerned. He threw for three touchdown passes in the game, picked up yards with his feet and has a quiet leadership about him. If I were looking for a college quarterback, this is a kid I’d be high on, regardless of the fact that he’s not 6-foot-4.
South - Kevin Hogan, Gonzaga HS – Keep in mind, this isn’t an MVP award because if it was it would go to Good Counsel quarterback Zachary Dancel who was pivotal in his teams’ win, but Kevin Hogan was the most physically gifted passer at the Chesapeake Bowl without question. He has great size, solid mechanics and a very strong arm. He put some passes on a rope in the game into tight coverage for completions that were very impressive and you can see that he has the tools to make it at the next level.
Top Running Backs
North - Maika Polamalu, Pottsgrove HS – Polamalu finally showed me what I thought was there, an animal waiting to come out when faced with big-time competition. I think the most impressive thing about him in the game was how much quicker his feet were from when I saw him in person earlier in the season against Mastbaum. He looked very natural at running back and for colleges lacking at the position, I’d take a late look here. Polamalu really caught me off guard with his nimbleness and explosiveness.
South - Malcolm Crockett, Friendship – Crockett is currently committed to Cincinnati who are celebrating the commitment of Jameel Poteat, but if I’m a Bearcat fan, I’m fired up about Crockett too after this week. He has very good speed and is also a very capable receiver out of the backfield.
Top Wide Receivers
North - Daquan Cooper, George Washington – This is a tough one and it’s actually split with Terrell Roberson as the Penn Hills product was very good too, but Cooper did pull some end arounds to get the edge in my opinion. The thing I like about Cooper is while he doesn’t have blazing speed, he has that twitch that can just take you out of your shoes and he’ll be a nice fit at Temple.
South - Matt Zanellato, Lake Braddock – No contest. Zanellato was not only the best wide receiver in the game, but the second best offensive player in the game to our overall MVP in my opinion. He had four catches for 126 yards and a score and was a beast against a tremendous North secondary.
Top Tight Ends
North - I’m going with both from the North team as a South team tight end only had one catch for one yard in the game. Clairton High School’s Desimon Green is a bit of a cheat as he lined up at wide receiver, but he gets the nod and Jack Tabb of Red Bank Catholic goes in as well after a couple of catches, including a 4th quarter jump ball in double-coverage.
As for defensive players, let’s just talk a bit about some players in the game.
Stanford commitment Patrick Skov had two tackles for loss in the game. Sheldon Royster is down to Rutgers and South Carolina and had a nasty sack off the edge. Quinton Alston had a tackle for loss and was very active out there and Max Issaka also looked very good with a tackle for loss of his own. Quinton Jefferson, Marquise Wright and Kevin McReynolds all had sacks in the game. Another player who really stood out that is going to a MAC school is Nick Rossi, who Akron is getting an absolute steal in. Every coach would attest to that.
Unit MVP - North Offensive Line
I give love to the "big uglies" and the North offensive line didn't give up a sack until the 4th quarter of the game. Simply put, they were outstanding. Keith Lumpkin, Shane Mertz, Evan Mulrooney, Andrew Zeller, Artie Rowell, Paul Gaughan, Trip Thurman, Robert Trudo and Kevin Reihner all get the nod for plowing the road and doing a great job in pass protection given that they probably don't do a whole lot of it in high school.
The outright Defensive MVP of the game was another story though in Virginia Tech commitment Kyshoen Jarrett who had two interceptions, multiple pass break-ups and was just about impossible to get a pass by.
North MVP - Matt Johnson, Bishop McDevitt HS – Without Johnson in the game, the North couldn’t have hung around as they were very pass-heavy in their offense. Ryan Laughlin got banged up early in the game and I’m not sure why Gary Nova was unavailable for most of the second half. Johnson threw three touchdowns and picked up over 50 yards on the ground though.
South MVP - Darius Jennings, Gilman School – Jennings was the catalyst for the South’s comeback in this game and while he didn’t score the winning touchdown for them, they wouldn’t have gotten there without him.
Chesapeake Bowl MVP - Darius Jennings, Gilman School – Six minutes into the game the North was already up 14-0, their defense was destroying every quarterback the South put in and it looked like it was going to be a blowout. That’s when head coach Biff Poggi decided to put in his guy in Darius Jennings and while it didn’t work immediately, it was like Novocain, you just have to give it time. A minute into the second quarter Jennings scored on an 11-yard run. Zach Dancel added a passing touchdown after that, but it was Jennings who set the tone and kept the North out of the South’s backfield for the rest of the game. After Jennings came in the North only made one more tackle for loss and had no sacks. This after having seven in the first six minutes of the game. His 49-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Kittrell gave the South their first lead of the game and they never looked back from there.