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North 12, South 6 in wild end to Senior Bowl

At the 3rd annual River Valley Senior Bowl football game June 15 at Olivet Nazarene University's War Field, the North squad's Jake Ballard recovered a South fumble as time expired and rumbled 17 yards into the end zone to give his side a 12-6 victory.

The North struck first with Sample finding Coal City's Ryland Tondini for a 4-yard touchdown on the team's opening drive to make it 6-0. That covered most of the offense for the first three quarters. The North twice thwarted South drives with interceptions from Kankakee teammates Jevon Wesby and Kyle Love, and the South had just 115 total yards heading into the final quarter.

The South finally gained some traction down the stretch with 122 yards in the fourth highlighted by a pair of long bursts by Momence's DeAndre Wright, who led offensive players with 134 yards on 14 carries. The speedy running back put the South into North territory before a former conference rival turned all-star teammate in Central's Logan Gigl crashed into the end zone from 1-yard out to tie things with just more than three minutes to go.

The teams appeared destined for a second-straight tie after North quarterback Ryan Sample's pass to Shaun Ohrt fell incomplete on fourth and goal with less than 20 seconds to go in the game.  But the South elected to go for the win with a bit of trickery.  After a completed pass by Flanagan's Alec Dutko, the South tried a hook-and-ladder play from its 37-yard line. While they managed to keep the play alive for awhile, the loose ball eventually bounded to Ballard, who sprinted in for the North win.

In total, 58 local graduates participated.  The North got its second win in three attempts in the contest. 2012 ended in a tie and the North won the inaugural game in 2011.