Three future Ohio State football players got a chance to get acquainted with Ohio Stadium on Friday at the Ohio North-South Classic.
Warren Ball at the 'Shoe
The North team rallied with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown and held on to take a 21-16 win over the South squad before a crowd of about 1,000 at the Horseshoe.
The lone future Buckeye on the North team was Cleveland Glenville safety Devan Bogard. He had an interception and four tackles for the North.
“It was great playing football again,” Bogard said. “The practices we had, we were serious and we came out here and won. It went great.”
Running back Warren Ball of Columbus DeSales, an OSU signee, had five catches for 46 yards for the South.
“We wanted to use the spread offense, which I will be using at OSU,” Ball said. “It’s about getting the ball in space and working from there. As a back, I think that showed some versatility.”
Ball was selected as the South team’s offensive player of the game. He also carried the ball three times out of the Wildcat formation for 7 yards.
“It was unfortunate we didn’t get the win,” Ball said. “The North squad played a great game and they deserved it. It was a great even to be a part of. I’m glad to be a part of it. To play in this stadium, there’s nothing like it.”
Defensive back Najee Murray of Steubenville, an OSU signee, was in on five tackles as well and had a fumble recovery for the South.
“It was a great game,” Murray said afterwards. “I’m kind of upset because I gave up the touchdown that sealed the game for them. I wish I could have done something to break it up. I think I showed that I can hit. Most people know I can hit. I have to show I can also cover.”
Kenton quarterback Maty Mauk, the Ohio Mr. Football award winner headed to Missouri, was selected for the South team. But he suffered a hamstring injury in practice yesterday and was not available.
The South team rolled 54 yards in five plays to the game’s first touchdown. The key play was Tyler O’Connor’s 31-yard swing pass to Ball, who rumbled down the left sideline to the North 23-yard line.
“I thought I had the touchdown, but the ref said I stepped out,” Ball said.
Three plays later, O’Connor, headed to Michigan State, hit Jalen Robinette for the 10-yard touchdown and a 7-0 South lead just 1:28 into the game.
The teams traded turnovers as South’s Andre Jones intercepted a pass, the South’s Murray recovered a fumbled snap and the North’s Bogard made a soaring interception.
“I saw the ball,” Bogard said. “I was like, ‘The receiver is over here.’ I just dove for it and I caught the ball. That just set the tone for my whole team.”
The North finally drove 65 yards in eight plays to its first touchdown. Tyler Clegg hit Anthony Melchiori for the 12-yard touchdown. But the South’s James Sanford blocked the PAT kick, leaving the South ahead 7-6 with 2:33 left in the half.
The South padded its lead early in the second half after O’Connor hit Zach Edwards with a 41-yard bomb down to the 9. But after a third-down sack, the South settled for a 27-yard field goal by Zach Miller to make it 10-6 with 6:40 left in the third quarter.
The North grabbed its first lead when Youngstown Boardman’s Devin Campbell broke a handful of tackles and was gone on an 88-yard touchdown run that made it 13-10 with 10:14 left to play.
Aided by a fourth down pass interference call on the South, the North moved 77 yards in 10 plays to an insurance touchdown. Kevin Besser executed the pump-and-go, hitting Quincy Jones for a 21-yard TD over the South’s Murray. Willie Henry then rumbled in for the two-point conversion and a 21-10 lead with 2:47 left.
O’Connor then led the South on a touchdown drive. He hit Marcus Davis for 25 yards, setting up his 19-yard touchdown strike to Armani Miller. Trailing 21-16 with 1:14 left, the South went for the two-point conversion. But O’Connor’s pass was intercepted by the North’s John McKelvey.
The South’s onside kick went out of bounds and after the North’s D.J. Jones picked up a first down, the North had held on for the win.
Melchiori was selected as the player of the game. Other award winners for the North included DL Greg McMullen (defensive player of the game) and D.J. Jones (offensive player of the game). The South award winners were Ball and Andre Jones (defensive player of the game). Andre Jones had a pair of interceptions.
The South had won the game the last two years. The North now owns a 39-25-3 lead in the all-time series. The series is tied at 6-6 since it returned to Columbus in 2001. This was the fourth year it has been played at Ohio Stadium and third straight year it has been played on the eve of OSU’s spring game.
The Ohio North-South Classic is the longest running high school all-star game in the country.
2012 Ohio North-South Classic
Friday, April 22
North 0 6 0 15 21
South 7 0 3 6 16
SOUTH: Jalen Robinette (Bexley) 10 pass from Tyler O’Connor (Lima Central Catholic). Brad Miller (Valley View) Kick. 10:32.
NOUTH: Anthony Melchiori (Aurora) 9 pass from Jeff Clegg (Western Reserve). Kick Blocked. 2:33.
SOUTH: 27 FG Brad Miller (Valley View). 6:02
NORTH: Devin Campbell (Youngstown Boarman) 88 run. Steven Smith (Tiffin Calvert) Kick. 10:14.
NORTH: Quincy Jones (Lakewood St. Edward) 21 pass from Kevin Besser (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary). Willie Henry (Cleveland Glenville) Run. 2:47.
SOUTH: Armani Miller (Huber Heights Wayne) pass from Tyler O’Connor (Lima Central Catholic). Pass Failed. 1:13.
North: Devin Campbell (Youngstown Boardman) 3-91, D.J. Jones (Ravenna) 18-77, Jesse Curry (Youngstown Ursuline) 4-19, Justin Hardee (Cleveland Glenville) 1-15, Kevin Besser (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary) 1-11, Adam Wallace (Norwayne) 2-6, Jeff Clegg (Western Reserve) 1-1, Lucas Poggiali (Sandusky) 1-0.
South: Warren Ball (Columbus DeSales) 3-7, Jalen Robinette (Bexley), Nate McGill (Cincinnati Princeton) 1-1, Tyler O’Connor (Lima Central Catholic) 5-(minus 28).
North: Kevin Besser (Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary) 4-13-58-1 INT, Jeff Clegg (Western Reserve) 3-6-25-1 INT, Lucas Poggiali (Sandusky) 0-5.
South: Tyler O’Connor (Lima Central Catholic) 18-33-243, Nate McGill (Cincinnati Princeton) 3-9-42-1 INT.
North: Anthony Melchiori (Aurora) 3-33, Matt Eckhardt (Avon) 3-29, Quincy Jones (Lakewood St. Edward) 1-21.
South: Zach Edwards (Middletown) 3-64, Armani Miller (Huber Heights Wayne) 3-53, Warren Ball (Columbus DeSales) 5-46, Brice Fackler (Kenton) 3-44, Marcus Davis (Dublin Coffman) 2-42, Jalen Robinette (Bexley) 3-32, Ross Franklin (Johnstown) 1-2, Austin Etzler (Elida) 1-2.
GAME MVP: Anthony Melchiori (Aurora).
North Offensive MVP: D.J, Jones (Ravenna)
North Defensive MVP: Greg McMullen (Akron Hoban)
South Offensive MVP: Warren Ball (Columbus DeSales)
South Defensive MVP: Andre Jones (Cincinnati Colerain)