Only a few hours after helping lead the Vikings to the District 1, Class AAA title, Oakes snared the winning touchdown pass as the South squad edged the North 15-10 at the Sixth Annual Valor Bowl on Thursday in front of an estimated 4,000 spectators at Farrell Stadium.
In all, Oakes grabbed two passes for 111 yards as the South notched its second victory in six tries in the charity all-star game, and its first win since 2000.
"It was a great day," Oakes said. "It's the best day I've had in a long time."
East baseball coach Ed Pappas was reluctant to let Oakes play a football game at the same time the Vikings are going for a second straight state championship. But Oakes was determined.
"He didn't want me to get hurt, but I had a lot of fun," said Oakes, who had gone 2-for-3 with a run scored in the Vikings' 5-1 win over Springfield (Delco). "I'm glad I came out here to play."
The South dominated statistically and finished with a 327-179 edge in total offense but still needed Oakes' third-quarter touchdown to erase a one-point deficit and then needed to hold on down the stretch. The North had outscored South 100-20 in the previous three meetings.
"Of course we're playing for the cause (Special Olympics) but we are definitely here to win," said West Chester Henderson's Matt McGreevy, the South's offensive MVP, who accounted for 198 yards of offense from his quarterback position.
"Matt knows the offense and it obviously fit him better than any of the other guys. It makes a big difference," said South head coach Joe Walsh, who coached McGreevy at Henderson.
"(McGreevy) is one of the more spectacular kids in Chester County," acknowledged North head coach Mike Matta. "Without him, we win the game. He's elusive and he makes things happen."
Henderson's Maurice Adams opened the scoring on the first play of the second quarter with a two-yard scoring run for the South, capping an eight-play, 81-yard drive. McGreevy accounted for 57 yards in the march, including a couple of long option runs.
Moments later, a low snap led to a safety and a 9-0 lead as Kevin Johns (Conestoga) blocked a North punt attempt out of the end zone. The South threatened to score two more times in the first half following an 60-yard kickoff return by Brian Chidester (Conestoga) and a 61-yard flea-flicker pass from McGreevy to Oakes, but kicker Derek Leslie missed on field-goal attempts of 35 and 41 yards.
The South offense turned the ball over deep in its own end on its first two possessions of the game. Downingtown West's Zach Boyd (fumble recovery) and Brock Williard (interception) made the defensive plays, but the North offense failed to capitalize.
The North squad suffered a blow when quarterback Mike Guiltinan (Great Valley) separated his shoulder before the game and it took the first half to adjust.
"We were unsure of ourselves without an established quarterback," Matta explained. "He was pretty good.
"It took us a while to find ourselves."
The North finally got untracked in the third quarter when quarterback Joe Nicholson scampered 55 yards to set up a touchdown run by teammate Andy Worthington (Owen J. Roberts). Soon after that, a faked punt helped the North take a 10-9 lead on a 29-yard field goal by Joe Hughes.
But it was short lived as McGreevy and Oakes hooked up for a 50-yard scoring toss on the next possession to put the South back in front, 15-10, late in the quarter.
The North had a chance to regain the lead in the final five minutes following a Zach Boyd interception, but the offense turned it over on downs at the South 25 yard line with 4:26 remaining and didn't get the ball back until the final 27 seconds of the game.
NOTES ... Kevin Johns was named the South's defensive MVP. Running back Kellen Hill (Great Valley) was the offensive MVP and Briton Ben (Coatesville) was the defensive MVP for the North. ... Former Philadelphia Eagles pro bowl receiver Mike Quick was on hand as the honorary captain and took part in the ceremonial coin toss. Quick - who is now the color analyst on the Eagles Radio Network - addressed the crowd and mentioned his many memories of working out at Farrell Stadium when the Eagles held training camp annually at West Chester University.