By DAVE CAMPBELL
STOCKTON – He just wanted a chance – and when he got it, he made the best of it.
Weston Ranch’s Fletcher Pitts Jr. was frustrated Saturday night in the 46th Central California Lions All-Star Classic, having gone nearly the whole game without a touch at wide receiver for the North at Spanos Stadium.
Then, trailing the South by 6 with 2:26 remaining in the game, Pitts Jr. crossed the goal line after taking a short pass from Wayne Schneider MVP Grant Stevenson of Lincoln of Stockton and bolting 37 yards to tie the game. Calaveras linebacker John Arbuckle followed the tying score with the lone successful conversion kick of the night for a one-point lead.
But the game was not over. The South moved into position to win the game on a last-second field goal only for Jordan Doyle of St. Mary’s to get a hand on it, deflecting it just enough and giving the North a thrilling 19-18 win, the first in the last seven outings for the North with one of those seven ending in a tie.
“I was so irritated when they were not looking my way,” Pitts Jr. said. “I kept telling coach that I needed the ball.”
“Finally on the one play I was open, and he got it to me and I went to the house. I was just so hyped when I got the ball I was thinking nothing but touchdown.”
With the South leading 12-6 in the third quarter and on the move, Lathrop’s Maurice Saulsbury Jr. put an end to that drive with an interception near midfield.
“It was great,” Saulsbury Jr. said. “It was just instincts.
“I picked it up when I saw it right out of his hand.”
As he had all year for Manteca, lineman Chandler Snyder was a force in the middle for the North.
“I’m just so excited,” Snyder said. “Everyone knew that they were doing, you didn’t have to wait for someone to understand what we were trying to do.”
“It was like putting a puzzle together. All the pieces fit. We all knew what we were doing.”