BY DOUG McKENZIE Staff Writer Mandeville, Thomas shine at 28th annual all-star game BY DOUG McKENZIEStaff Writer JEFF GRANIT staff Raritan’s Andrew Mandeville gave Monmouth University football fans yet another glimpse of what they have to look forward to as he was the South squad’s top offensive player at the 28th annual North-South All-Star Game at Rutgers Stadium on Thursday. Some familiar names made some familiar great plays on Thursday as many of the top graduating high school football players in the state played in the 28th annual North-South All-Star Football Game at Rutgers Stadium. The South squad, which featured several of the top players from both the Shore and Greater Middlesex conferences, put forth a valiant effort before falling to their counterparts from the North, 31-16. But not before a few of the area’s top players over the last few seasons left a lasting impression in what was for some their final scholastic appearance. Fans of Monmouth University football were already excited about the athleticism and leadership Raritan’s Andrew Mandeville will bring to the Hawks over the next four years. Mandeville, who was a two-time All-State selection, has been one of the Shore Conference’s most electrifying offensive players for the past four years as the Rocket’s quarterback. His ability to combine his strong throwing arm with a fearless approach to running the ball made him one of the most versatile signal-callers in the state. On Thursday, he reminded everyone just how dangerous a player he can be, proving to be the South’s most explosive offensive weapon, whether he was throwing the ball, running with it, or making three escapes from would-be sacks. Mandeville came into the game on a first-and-goal from the 8-yard line after Camden Catholic quarterback drove the South squad 72 yards on 11 plays. Once in the game, it didn’t take Mandeville long find the end zone, tucking the ball on his first snap and scampering in for the touchdown. Unfortunately, the North offense was even more efficient as they scored the next 23 points, on a safety and three straight TDs. As a result, the North had a 23-7 halftime lead. Once the second half started, Mandeville did his best to get his team back in the game, firing a 71-yard pass to Perth Amboy’s Manuel Torres. That set up a 32-yard field goal from New Egypt’s Andrew Weingart, the first New Egypt player to participate in this annual game. The South squad came close to shortening the gap on their next possession, only to see their drive stall with a missed field goal. Once the North squad added another touchdown in the fourth quarter, Mandeville’s second TD of the game (a 7-yard scamper) proved meaningless. For the game, Mandeville finished 5-for-9 in the air for 153 yards. While he was the top offensive players for the South, it was Sayreville’s Shaune Thomas who was the star on the other side of the ball. Fans of Sayreville High School football are accustomed to seeing Thomas take over a game on either side of the ball, but on Thursday, the Nassau Community College-bound Bomber was showing off his athleticism in leading the South defense. In the first half, Thomas saved a would-be touchdown with an acrobatic interception that left most people calling it the play of the game. With 13:00 left in the second quarter, Thomas stepped in front of the intended receiver to record the diving INT, fully extending his body in the process. He later added a blocked extra point following a North touchdown, again displaying the athleticism that has earned him the distinction as one of the top football and track and field stars in Sayreville’s celebrated history. While Thomas was deservedly named the game’s State Farm Outstanding Defensive Player of the Game, among the other local players who excelled on defense were Middletown South’s Keith Heaney (seven tackles), Ocean Township’s Corey Giddings (six tackles) and Red Bank Catholic’s Mike Kelly (four tackles). The South offense also got strong efforts from Brick Memorial’s Mike Lepore (four catches, 74 yards) and Metuchen’s Lenny Bing, who moved over from his usual wide receiver spot to make his debut at fullback, and rushed nine times for 72 yards. Bing’s surprisingly natural move to fullback may wind up giving his future coaches at the University of Albany some options they didn’t know they had, though Bing is expected to play H-back for the Great Danes.