North wins over South, 26-0, in the N-S Classic

Mark Martin
Ripley High football standouts Matt Moore, Kadin Hall and Quinton Joyner played one final game together last Saturday as members of the South Cardinals in the WCHS-TV/FOX 11 North-South All-Star Football Classic. Moore is headed to UC, Hall is bound for West Virginia State University and Joyner will be joining the Army National Guard.

While the North won for the fifth consecutive year in the annual WCHS-TV/FOX 11 North-South All-Star Football Classic, it didn’t dampen the spirits of Ripley’s Kadin Hall, Quinton Joyner and Matt Moore.

The three former Viking standouts were members of the 2021 South Cardinals, who fell to the North Bears, 26-0, last Saturday afternoon inside South Charleston’s Black Eagle Stadium.

While they would have loved being on the winning side, the week that was, from the time they checked in to when the scoreboard hit 0:00 in the fourth quarter, left the trio with lasting memories.

“I think it was a good bonding experience,” Hall said. “You’ve heard about these guys (South teammates and North players) and you finally get to meet them. You find out what kind of genuine people they are. The coaches were great. They were very cool. I will never forget them. And then getting to spend the week with Matt and Quinton made it even better.”

Hall rushed the football three times in the game for nine yards from his fullback position.

Though he wasn’t Ripley’s punter or kicker during his career, he earned those duties during the week of training camp at West Virginia State University in Institute, where the two teams practiced twice daily and lived.

Hall had three punts for 76 yards. He squibbed the opening kickoff of the contest, which, unfortunately, turned out to be the only time the South would get to do so on the afternoon.

“(Keon) Padmore-Johnson (the North quarterback from Spring Mills) and (Kevon) Warren (the North running back from Martinsburg) are really good. We had spots (where the South could have scored) but just never capitalized,” Hall said. “It was a fun game. And even though we lost, I was still just trying to have fun with it.”

The week, which included evening activities with a pair of movie nights, bowling, a swimming party and the North-South Classic Hall of Fame banquet, allowed Hall to get familiar with his future home.

Hall is going to attend West Virginia State and play football for the Yellow Jacket program.

“I pretty much know where everything is now,” he said.

Moore started on the defensive side of the ball at tackle.

"Getting there Sunday, it was basically put your stuff down and go to practice. You are not really acquainted with anyone. You are going to practices with guys you don’t know,” Moore said. “Coming back from practice you are eating dinner. You start to know some more guys. You build relationships.

“In your down time, you build relationships. In the evening you started getting closer and closer. The team outings — bowling, movies and the swim party. Both teams got closer. By the end of the week we were brothers.”

And before long, it was game time.

“Going out for the game, none of us wanted it to be over,” Moore said. “It was bittersweet.”

Moore, who roomed with Capital’s Chris Crowder, enjoyed one last week of practices and a game with his Ripley teammates. Crowder is heading to State and will be a future teammate of Hall.

“We've been playing together since we were little guys, maybe 6 or 7 years old.”

From a defensive perspective, the North utilized its talents to get the early lead and keep the South on its heels.

“Ripley had played Spring Mills (in the 2020 season), so I knew what to expect from Padmore-Johnson,” Moore said. “The first half wasn't pretty, more really the first quarter. I thought the second, third and fourth quarters both teams played pretty well. I wish we would have come out guns blazing.”

With his North-South experience behind him, Moore will spend the summer working for the City of Ripley’s maintenance department.

“I like the job,” he said, "this is my third summer."

He battles each day as to whether football will be a part of his future at the University of Charleston, where he will major in radiology.

“It is still a big conflict in my head,” he said.

A heavy course load right out of the gate has him leaning towards not suiting up initially for the Golden Eagle program.

But never say never.

“I plan to be there for six years hopefully,” he said.

Meaning there might come a time the urge to play football again will happen.

If not, he will have the North-South as a capper to a great career.

Joyner was likely playing the last game of his career. He will be entering the Army National Guard come August.

Joyner, who was the Class AAA Second Team All-State captain this past season, played up front on the offensive line for the Cardinals.

“It was a great week there. You made friendships and bonded with everybody,” he said. “If given the chance, I’d do it again. I just don’t know how some guys turn this opportunity down. It’s only been a few days and I already miss those guys.”

Joyner has been quoted as saying how much football made him grow as a person and after being in a camp setting for an entire week among some of the state’s best, he felt even stronger about those feelings.

“It’s just something I’ll never forget,” he said.

Joyner was disappointed to be on the losing end of the scoreboard but tried to see the bigger picture.

“If we could go back, I’m sure there are some things we would change. But we were out there having fun and playing the game we love and that’s important.”

From here until his report date with the Guard in August, Joyner plans to do plenty of running and aims to get stronger.

Joyner knows anything is possible in the future and he may one day return to football.

Regardless, the memories created in Institute and in Saturday’s game will live on forever.

.    .    .    .

As for the game, following Hall’s opening kickoff, the North wasted little time in reaching the end zone.

Padmore-Johnson scored on a 43-yard jaunt at the 10:15 mark. Doddridge County’s D.J. Devinney added the extra point to give the North a 7-0 lead — one they would never relinquish.

Padmore-Johnson, who has yet to choose a school for his future academic and athletic endeavors, found the end zone again on the North’s next possession from 10 yards out. The score came with 6:23 to go in the first quarter. The extra point kick was blocked.

The North moved ahead 19-0 in the second quarter on a 14-yard TD run by Martinsburg’s Kevon Wallace, who is bound for Concord University to play for his former Bulldog head coach Dave Walker.

A try for a 2-point conversion was no good.

Following a scoreless third quarter, the North added another TD on a 42-yard pass from Padmore-Johnson to John Marshall’s Dalton Flowers, who is going to walk-on at WVU.

Devinney’s second extra point of the game got it to the final of 26-0.

The North rushed the football 34 times for 185 yards in the game. The South also ran it 34 times, picking up 88.

The South had a slight edge in passing yards, 86-85. The South completed 11-of-30 attempts while suffering three interceptions.

Daylin Goad of Mingo Central, who is bound for Glenville State College, was 5-of-14 for 44 yards and had two interceptions. Caleb Jantuah of Richwood was 6-of-15 for 42 yards. He led the South in rushing with 28 yards on 11 carries. Jantuah will be a future teammate of Hall at State.

Padmore-Johnson, who went virtually the entire way at quarterback, was 6-of-12 for 88 yards in the passing department. Brennan Boron of St. Marys, who is headed to Waynesburg and a player Ravenswood faced off with during his career, attempted two passes with one completion for minus three yards. He had one of the North’s three picks.

Braxton’s Jett Cogar, who played in the game with twin brother Bane, was 0-for-1 with an interception. The Cogars will head to WVU as students.

Warren led the North in rushing with 97 yards.

Padmore-Johnson and Jantuah were unanimous MVP selections for the two teams.

The top two linemen of the Classic were Devin Hill of Bridgeport for the North and Trey Chapman out of Herbert Hoover for the South.

For the first time, a Friends of Coal Travelling Trophy was awarded to the winning team.

This year the trophy will reside in Marion County at North Marion High School. Daran Hayes is the head coach at NM and served this year as the North head coach.

The South continues to have a dominating edge in the overall series, 40-24-3.