TAMPA — This past football season, Jefferson quarterback Deiondre Porter was one of the most dynamic players in the Tampa Bay area.
The 6-foot-1 dual-threat quarterback led the area in passing and surprisingly, was one of the top rushers while leading the Dragons to the second round of the state playoffs.
Porter offered one more memorable performance for his high school career on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.
With 5:54 left in the Blue-Grey North vs. South All-American Bowl, Porter, the starting quarterback for the South, scored on a 33-yard run to tie the game at 41. The South regained possession with three minutes to play but Porter's Hail Mary into the end zone as time expired was intercepted, sending the game into overtime.
“No matter where or what team, that's that Tampa, Florida boy 'do what it takes to win' mentality,” Porter said.
In the second overtime, St. Petersburg Northeast High running back Keith Harrington scored his fourth touchdown of the game from three yards out to give the South a 47-44 win.
“My mindset was 'I'm getting in,' “ said Harrington. “The offensive line blocked perfectly. The opened up the hole perfectly.”
Harrington, also one of the Tampa Bay area's top players and Washington State-commit, led the South's comeback and finished with more than 150 yards on the ground along with 75 yards as a kick returner. Harrington's third touchdown in the fourth quarter closed the North's lead to 41-34. Porter finished with 85 yards rushing.
“We came in at half time and just got back to basics,” said South team coach and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Larry Ryan. “We said let's tighten up and see if we have heart and run it at them.”
When asked about Harrington's performance, Ryan said, “He's the real deal.”†
Harrington not only was one of the game's top performers, he had a good time.
“It was the funnest game I've ever played. I'll remember this for the rest of my life,” Harrington said afterward.
The North led 34-7 at halftime and 41-27 entering the fourth quarter.
Porter and Harrington were two of five players from Tampa Bay.† Joining them on the South were receiver Justin Motlow and linebacker Tre Watson of Tampa Catholic and Chamberlain linebacker Anthony Davis.
Watson, who is verbally committed to Illinois, had two big plays of his own, intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble in the third quarter which led to two touchdowns for the South.
“You can tell these are the best in their county and their high schools,” Porter said.
Not to be outdone, however, was Chris Jones, a receiver from Maryland on the North team who is verbally committed to Wisconsin. Jones had more than 150 receiving yards and three touchdowns, making several highlight reel runs after some of his catches.
In the first quarter, Porter completed a 32-yard pass to Motlow to set up a 1-yard touchdown by Harrington.