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January 21, 2012

Former Seminoles fuel Battle of Florida victory

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BOCA RATON, Fla. - Five former Seminoles and former FSU head coach Bobby Bowden guided the North team to a 51-3 victory in the inaugural Battle of Florida All Star game At FAU Football Stadium on Saturday night.

With the two teams splitting the state geographically, the North took control of the game scoring on its first six possessions of the game. Former Florida State running back Jermaine Thomas capped off the opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.

"I coached a lot of All Star games when I was coaching. Never had one like this, I don't think I've ever seen one like this," Bowden said. "Where one team just got so many points. I don't know what happened. You would look at it and think 'Well the North got all the players' but they're pretty dadgum equal. I thought the difference was the quarterbacks."

While Bowden's quarterbacks had a nice day, completing 19 of 30 combined pass attempts for 262 yards and three touchdowns, they also got plenty of help from the skill positions, including three former Seminoles who got in the endzone.

Thomas was the first to score and finished the game with 79 yards on nine carries, an average of 8.8 yards per touch.

"It just felt good. I was on the team with a lot of great guys. We just put our team first and wasn't focused on getting individual stats," Thomas said. "The score speaks for itself and I wish the guys good luck in whatever they're doing."

Thomas' fellow running mateTy Jones also found his way into the endzone early on a 1-yard run to put the North up 20-0. Jones set up a 1-yard touchdown run on the drive prior with a couple of nice catches, including a diving grab for a gain of 18 yards.

He finished the game with 46 yards on six carries and three receptions for 24 yards.

The North put the game out of reach two drives later with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown, followed by a 21-yard touchdown catch by Bert Reed from former Boston College and East Carolina quarterback Dominique Davis.

"It was just Dominque Davis," Reed said of his only reception. "He's just a great quarterback. He did such a good job of looking that safety off and just made it an easy catch for me."

The South was able to avoid the shutout with a 32-yard field goal from former Middle Tennessee State kicker Alan Gendreau with 12:43 left the game. South coach, legend Howard Schenellenberger, elected to allow the clock to run in the final quarter.

The game capped off a week that saw more than 150 different NFL, CFL and Arena League scouts come through to watch either practice or the game.

"It's great for these boys because it gives them an opportunity to show what they've got maybe that the pros have not seen before," Bowden said. "I'm sure a couple of those kids out there (Saturday) attracted some attention."

Bowden said he hoped the event would be able to grow because of the opportunity it gave kids from the state of Florida. He also said that being able to watch his former players shine made it an extra special evening.

"It really is (neat to see my guys making plays)," Bowden said. "It makes it nicer when some of your guys are doing some things. I was very pleased with that.



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