GLASSBORO — Team Blue, led by several Cape-Atlantic League standouts, dominated the early part of the 22nd annual Adam Taliaferro All-Star Football Classic on Thursday.
But the game didn’t end there. Team White rallied to beat the Blue 41-37 at Rowan University.
The South Jersey Football Association’s annual all-star game is for recent high school graduates. The game is named for Taliaferro, an Eastern graduate who was paralyzed after making a tackle for Penn State University in 2000. Taliaferro recovered and is now a lawyer.
The Blue went up 21-0 on two quarterback sneaks by Millville’s Shaquille Lee, and a 16-yard run for a score by Pleasantville’s Dontaye Rivera.
“It felt great to score a touchdown. I thank God for it,” said Rivera, 18. “It was a fun game and I’ll definitely remember it the rest of my life.”
But Team White scored a touchdown and was helped by an event rule that gives a team trailing by 14 or more points the ball back after it scores.
Team White immediately added an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Pennsauken’s Amar Williams to cut its deficit to 21-12. Blue led 27-12 at halftime.
“The mercy rule stopped our momentum because our defense had to get right back on the field,” Rivera said.
Team White stayed in it and outscored the Blue 29-10 in the second half to win. Calvin Lowe of Timber Creek scored a 1-yard touchdown for the Team White to seal the win with 21.2 seconds left.
CAL players had big games, too.
Bridgeton’s Tamar Jackson intercepted a pass and had some booming punts and good tackles for the Team Blue. Blue teammate Bobby Barbieri of Hammonton had two interceptions.
Hammonton’s Russ Forchion (80 yards on eight carries) set up Lee’s second touchdown in the second quarter with a 50-yard run to the 2-yard line. Lee’s 2-yard sneak came on the next play and kicker Frank Bobo of Seneca added the extra point to make it 21-0 Blue with 12 minutes, 38 seconds before halftime.
Proceeds from the game benefited the Adam Taliaferro Foundation, which provides funds and help for all football players with spinal injuries.
“It’s an honor to have been selected to play in this game,” said Barbieri, 18. “Adam Taliaferro is a very inspirational person and it’s good to be part of it. I’ve had a very memorable week and it’s been great to get to know my teammates. It was a tremendous experience.”
Contact Guy Gargan: