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Publics go to town in Eagles City All-Star Football Classic

OF ALL THE positions one could picture Demetrius Town playing, point guard would be last on the list.

OF ALL THE positions one could picture Demetrius Town playing, point guard would be last on the list.

Point guard?

Wait. Isn't Town, of Ben Franklin High, a football lineman? Doesn't he go 6-2 and weigh (at least) 275 pounds? Indeed.

But every school has gym classes and at Franklin basketball is the No. 1 pastime and maybe a month ago, there was Town, trying to run the show.

"Know why I did that? Because I saw a documentary on LeBron James and it was showing him trying to take the ball to the basket, like he was AI," a laughing Town said, referring to Allen Iverson. "When I made my drive and then tried my layup, I came down funny and hurt my ankle. Got a high ankle sprain. I was upset. I didn't even think I'd be playing in this game."

This game was the 38th annual Philadelphia Eagles City All-Star Football Classic, played Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field, and Town used his bulk, and passion, to help Public topple Non-Public, 29-22.

The Pub's second consecutive win sliced its series deficit to 20-17-1.

For Franklin, Town mostly served as a defensive tackle in a four-man front. But Thursday he was used at nose tackle - or nose guard, your preference - in a 5-2 defense that has been required of every team in this game since its inception. He finished with 2 1/2 sacks and another tackle that resulted in a loss for a running back.

"I'm likin' this 5-2 thing," Town said. "You're right in the middle and you can have a much bigger impact. It's like you have more control.

"I mean, you're right over the center. I tried to be so quick, I could hit him the instant he started snapping the ball. That was fun. And, of course, the quarterback was right behind the center, so I was getting to him, too."

Much more enjoyable than watching from the sideline on crutches.

"I have to give credit to the trainer, Marcus," Town said. "He was giving me great help for about 2 weeks straight - telling me how to ice it, and all that - so I could get myself ready for the all-star practices."

Town did much of his defensive damage in the second half.

Ah, but he was also part of first-half offensive success. In a very unlikely spot, at that.

Town and/or other big-'uns lined up as co-fullbacks and twice helped quarterback Sharif Smith get into the end zone on 1-yard sneaks.

"We called that 'Rhino,' " he said. "That's every lineman's dream, right, to be in the backfield? Man, that was fun.

"When we were doing that in practice, I was up out of my stance so quick, the quarterback almost wound up giving me the ball."

The first time, the co-fullbacks were Clarence Murphy (Dobbins) and Ron Jones (Gratz). Jones and Town did the honors the second time around. Right after that, holder Myles Brooker (Germantown) kept the ball on a somewhat broken play and his two-pointer made it 15-7 heading into halftime.

Six minutes, 20 seconds into the third quarter, N-P pulled into a 15-15 tie as T-J Waters (West Catholic) recovered an end-zone fumble that was forced by varying amounts of contact from Eric Condron, Shawn Hartigan (both of Judge) and Kenny English (Roman). Quarterback Jaleel Reed tacked on the conversion run.

Four minutes later, a poor snap enabled Jihad Ward (Bok) to drop punter Dave Faraldo (Judge) for a 25-yard loss to the N-P's 14. Marquise Brown (Bok) then hit Temple-bound Shakur Nesmith (Imhotep) for a 14-yard score on a second-down, left-corner fade.

Shakur NeSmith? The same guy who'd been ejected in the second quarter for engaging in a quick, off-the-ball dustup with Blaise Schieler (WC)? You got it.

Pub coach Erik Zipay (Gratz) said he and N-P coach Brian Fluck (WC) spoke at halftime and agreed to negate the ejections.

"It was an all-star game," he said. "We both felt the kids should be out there getting their reps, so we shook hands on it."

Two plays into the fourth quarter, the Pub upped its edge to 29-15 as Brown and tight end Aaron Allison (Frankford) connected for a 32-yard score. Allison broke two tackles right after making the catch and received a great block at the 5 from wideout Eric "T.O." Leslie.

From then on, everyone witnessed the Bruce Mapp Show. Mapp (WC) made five snags for 68 yards over the next 13 minutes and the last one, a 14-yard TD, came with 1:06 left.

Were we headed for oh-baby territory? Not quite. Richard "Tre" Drayton (Central) recovered the onside kick, which only traveled 9 yards anyway, but one regular run and two kneel-downs meant the Pub had to punt or take an intentional safety and hope. Howard Lynn, who hit boomers all night, shanked an 11-yarder that went out of bounds at the Pub's 48 at 0:19.

Popping out of a group of three defenders, Michael Brown (Northeast) made a last-play interception 30 yards from the end zone.

Brown and Town were the Pub's offensive and defensive MVPs, respectively, while rusher Marcus Kelly (Roman) and Condron earned like honors for N-P.

Brown finished 4-for-8 for 58 yards and two TDs while Shaquill Sammons (Bok) rushed 19 times for 61 yards. For N-P, Kelly ran eight times for 50 yards, Daniels passed 13-for-24 for 116 yards and one TD while Mapp turned six catches into 76 yards. Andre Shirley (King) and Khalil Scott (Gratz) had the Pub interceptions that preceded Brown's.

Town, meanwhile, could possibly wind up at Cheyney, though he's thinking Louisburg, a junior college in North Carolina, is a more likely destination.

A future at point guard? Hey, that's way out of the question. His first day on campus, though, he might be begging the football coach to play a 5-2 defense.

Contact Ted Silary at

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