UNION - Quaashie Jetter received a late invitation to play in the North/South High School All Star Football Classic.
The Oakcrest High School graduate made the most of the opportunity Monday night.
Jetter intercepted a pass in the second quarter. The North beat the South 54-8 at Kean University. Most of the game's players were selected months ago. Jetter got his call last Friday.
"I wasn't expecting to get in the game that much because I just came off the street," Jetter said. "To get in the game and catch a pick is amazing."
Three other local players participated - linemen Jim Cessna of Millville, Matt Lauer of Barnegat and Collin Lynch of Absegami.
The 34th annual game featured some of the state's top recently graduated seniors. The series is even 16-16-2. Thunderstorms prevented the game from being completed one year.
Monday's game was barely competitive. The North led 24-0 at the end of the first quarter and 44-8 at halftime.
The 5-foot-11, 203-pound Jetter quarterbacked Oakcrest to the South Jersey Group IV final in 2010. He played quarterback, running back and defensive back as a junior and senior.
Jetter was sitting home last Friday when Kean football coaches telephoned him and asked him to play in the game. Jetter is considering attending Kean or a junior college.
"They said they needed a defensive back," Jetter said. "I was like, 'Yes, let's do it.' "
Jetter arrived at Kean for practice Saturday. The players stay in Kean dorms.
"I liked it a lot," Jetter said. "I met a lot of new people from different places."
Jetter's interception stopped a North scoring drive. It was the only possession North didn't score on in the first half.
Jetter stepped in front of the North tight end and picked off the pass at the South 5-yard line.
"I saw the quarterback rolling out," Jetter said. "I just grabbed the tight end and as the quarterback threw it, I just broke on the ball."
The South's only first-half score came on a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Palladino of Allentown to Anthony Firkser of Manalapan with 3 minutes, 36 seconds left in the second quarter.
The 6-1, 262-pound Cessna played center for the South on the drive. Cessna came off the field huffing and puffing.
"It was a long drive," he said with a laugh.
The game and the days of practice leading up to the contest were even more meaningful for Cessna. He will continue his career at Albright College in Reading, Pa. Four other players on the South roster are also headed to Albright.
Cessna said Monday's gave him a chance to bond with his future teammates.
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else than at (the North/South game)," he said.
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