UNION - Alquann Jones of Millville and Manny Cortez of Pennsauken lined up in the same backfield Monday night.

"I told (Cortez), 'Whoever thought we'd be on the same team?' " Jones said. "He's a great player."

The two played for the South in the 34th annual North-South All-Star Football Classic at Kean University. The North won 14-7.

In addition to Jones, three other local players - wide receiver Vance Matthews of Lower Cape May Regional, defensive back Darryl Smith of St. Joseph and lineman Jake Fernandez of Lacey Township - played for the South.

The last time Jones and Cortez were on the field, they were on opposite sides.

Cortez quarterbacked Pennsauken to a 55-34 win over Jones and Millville in the South Jersey Group IV title game last December. Cortez threw for five touchdowns and ran for three more. Jones, The 2011 Press Football Player of the Season, ran for 165 yards and three touchdowns in the game.

They couldn't produce the same offensive results Monday.

Jones carried 12 times for 35 yards. Cortez ran nine times for 57 yards.

“We had a lot of fun,” said Jones, who is headed to Delaware Valley College. “It was a college experience.”

The game featured some of the state’s top recently graduated seniors. The South leads the series 16-15-2. The 2002 game was not finished because of thunderstorms.

The players arrived at Kean last Friday and practiced for three days.

“It was a fun, hot, long, grueling and exciting weekend,” said Matthews, who will walk on at Rutgers University.

Local players performed well.

Smith broke up a pass and had a tackle for a loss. Fernandez made a tackle for a loss. Matthews caught a pass for 25 yards.

The game turned in the North’s favor in the fourth quarter when linebacker Tyler Condit (Caldwell H.S.) intercepted a pass intended for Jones. Condit returned the pick 40 yards to the South 17-yard line.

One play later, Elijah Hughes of Elizabeth scored on a 17-yard run to give the North a 14-7 lead with 8 minutes, 34 seconds left in the game.

The South took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on an 18-play, 87-yard drive that took more than 10 minutes. Cortez quarterbacked the entire drive. Jones carried four times on the possession for 10 yards.

The North held the ball most of the third quarter and tied the game when quarterback Spencer Perez of Hoboken threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Jason Fuehring of Lakeland with 4:54 left in the third quarter. That score completed a 17-play, 78-yard drive.

The players gathered at the 50-yard line after the game.

“It was good weekend,” Matthews said. “It got me ready for college, which is what I wanted.”

Contact Michael McGarry:

609-272-7185