North bests South in Foothills Classic
Matt Guigliano never played against either Yough or Clairton in his four years at Franklin Regional, but he got to know Cougars quarterback Justin Shaffer and the Bears' Leroy George fairly well Saturday night.
Guigliano had three sacks, forced a fumble and was credited with a safety in the first half to help his North squad to a 20-10 win over the South in the 12th annual Foothills Football Classic at Norwin High School. He was a unanimous choice as the most valuable player in the game.
Guigliano made his presence felt on the game's first drive. The South team had taken the opening kickoff and, thanks to a 56-yard pass from Shaffer to West Mifflin's Christopher Giles, had a first down at the North 9. Two plays later, however, and the South had lost 3 yards and sacked George for a 7-yard loss that held the South to a 35-yard field goal from Southmoreland's Kevin Hagerman.
After the North took a 6-3 lead on its opening possession, Guigliano turned the game around. On a second-and-10 from the South 34, he blindsided Shaffer and forced the first of his three first-half fumbles. The ball took a gratuitous bounce right into the arms of Woodland Hills linebacker Blane Jefferson, who returned it 30 yards for a touchdown to give the North a 12-3 lead.
Guigliano finally scored himself with 8:08 to play in the first half. With the North on top, 18-3, after a 44-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Woodland Hills defensive back Lance Patterson, the South appeared stunned and began its next drive at its own 30.
On second-and-10 with George at quarterback, Guigliano quickly moved into the South backfield and chased the elusive signal caller all over the field. He finally caught up with him at the goal line and, despite the fact he wasn't credited with the sack because George threw the ball away, the ensuing intentional grounding call awarded him a safety and gave the North a 20-3 lead at the intermission.
Guigliano also came up with a huge play in the third quarter to keep the South from making a comeback. On the South's first drive of the second half, it relied on a quick running of Clairton's Marcus Pollard to move the chains and to a first down at the north 25. But on fourth-and-inches at the 16, Guigliano nailed Pollard in the backfield for a 1-yard loss to stop the drive and preserve the South win.
North 20, South 10
S: Kevin Hagerman 35 FG
N: Matt Curry 2 run (kick failed)
N: Blane Jefferson 30 fumble return (pass failed)
N: Lance Patterson 44 fumble return (pass failed)
N: Safety, Leroy George penalized for intentional grounding in end zone.
S: Preston Robinson 30 pass from Justin Shaffer (Hagerman kick)