CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Andrew Johnson was a little miffed that he originally didn't get selected to play in the North-South basketball game. But he more than made up for that disappointment on the gridiron Saturday night.
Johnson, a two-sport standout at Woodrow Wilson, threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third - all in the second half - to lead the late-breaking South to a 43-14 victory in the 60th North-South All-Star Classic, which drew an estimated crowd of 2,700 to Laidley Field.
"This is great right now,'' Johnson said, "to end my high school career the way I wanted to - come out there and get one more win. Leave as a winner, and represent Beckley one more time.''
It marked the fourth straight victory and seventh in eight games for the South, which extended its all-time series lead to 38-19-3.
The South dominated the second half after the teams were tied 14-all at the break. The North managed just three first downs and 48 net yards after halftime.
Six different players tallied TDs for the South - Johnson on a 14-yard run, a 34-yard pass to Trevond Reese (South Charleston) and a 25-yarder to Jarod Martin (Huntington), Seth Lewis (Winfield) on a 9-yard run, Tony Kitts (Huntington) on a defensive fumble recovery in the end zone and Brandon Spurlock (Wayne) on a 7-yard run.
Johnson, a three-year starter for Woodrow and his school's all-time leading passer, was selected as the South's MVP in a media vote. He finished 11 of 14 passing for 190 yards, ran 13 times for 78 yards and also played a little receiver when he wasn't at quarterback, catching two passes for 45 yards.
He acknowledged his displeasure with being left off the original South team in basketball, his favorite sport. The South captured a 92-81 hoops victory on Friday.
"I was [disappointed] a little bit at first,'' Johnson said. "I was very upset I didn't make it. They told me I missed by one vote and said, 'You're the first alternate if you want to play.' I didn't want to play just like that. [Friday] night I really, really wanted to play [basketball] because I had a lot of friends on the South team and I felt like I should have been out there.
"But everything happens for a reason. God made that happen for a reason. If I'd played [Friday] night, I don't think I'd have been able to come out there with as much energy as I did tonight and play the way I did.''
The South held a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter and was driving for another score, facing a fourth-and-5 from the North 25 with 32 seconds left before halftime.
Trenton Gibbs (Wahama), the backup QB for the South who threw for 100 yards, tried to hit Johnson on an out pattern, but Johnson ran a slant and the ball wound up in the hands of North defensive back Quashad Pugh (Wheeling Park), who returned it 82 yards for a TD, knotting the game at halftime.
The South didn't waste much time taking control in the second half, nearly scoring on four straight possessions after defensive back Levi Jordan (Buffalo) intercepted a Justin "Cookie'' Clinton pass and brought it back 18 yards to his own 46.
Johnson capped that drive with his keeper play, then threw TD tosses to Reese and Martin. On the first, Reese caught a short crossing pass, cut back across the field and picked up a nifty clearing block from Martin. On the latter, Johnson bought time with his scrambling ability, allowing Martin to get open at the goal line and make a fingertip grab.
The only time the South didn't score in that stretch was when it failed to hold onto the ball. Johnson found a streaking Marcus Reed (Riverside) down the middle for a 53-yard gain to the North 17, but Reed fumbled it away when tackled.