DAYTON, Ohio – I went to the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association North-South All-Star Classic on Saturday to work on a couple projects for down the road. While I was there, I watched a couple football games.
**This Urban Meyer guy knows what he’s doing. As expected, the stars of the games for some of Ohio’s best in the class of 2013 were Ohio State signees. Massillon’s Gareon Conley caught 3 touchdown passes for the North in the big-school (Div. I-III) game and was named the North’s Offensive MVP, and Cleveland Glenville’s Chris Worley was an absolute terror on defense and was named the North Defensive MVP.
Worley said he plans to start out at safety at the “star” position when he gets to Ohio State this summer but could grow into a linebacker’s role and isn’t opposed to either. He plays fast and violently and if he doesn’t get on the field sooner than later it’s a sign that the Buckeyes are really, really stacked.
**This was the first year the OHSFCA divided the event into two games and played them at Welcome Stadium. The North won the big-school game, 33-27, after leading 14-0 early, trailing 21-14 at halftime and then hanging on late. Game MVP Kyle Kempt, an Oregon State commit, kept finding his high school teammate, Conley, and the South really couldn’t keep up with him.
Kempt threw for 161 yards and threw all 3 of Conley’s touchdowns.
“Pretty awesome way to close our high school careers,” Kempt said. “It was a lot of fun. Gareon made it easy for me sometime at Massillon and he did it again here.”
**In the small-school (Div. IV-VI) game, Akron Manchester QB Nick Peyakov started 7-of-7 and threw 2 early touchdowns to give the North a 14-0 lead. The North held on to win, 27-24, with the winning margin coming on a 55-yard field goal by Michael Geiger of Ottawa Hills, who’s headed to Michigan State.
Remember Geiger’s name. He cleared the crossbar easily on that field goal and has a very bright future.
Norwayne receiver Brady Berger was named MVP of the small-school game after catching two touchdown passes. The South’s biggest play came on an 83-yard touchdown catch by Akron signee Austin Wolf of Lebanon.
Berger plans to walk on at Akron. Peyakov is undecided on a college but is leaning towards Mount Union after he didn’t receive any Div. I scholarship offers. It’s no coincidence, by the way, that Mount Union does what it does on a yearly basis.
**The North-South game has been played since 1946 and is the longest continuously running all-star game in the country. There have only been two Super Bowls ever played without a North-South game alum on one of the rosters.
“I got to read up this week on some of the names of past players in this game,” Kempt said. “It’s an honor to be next. This was a first-class operation this week and something we’ll all remember.”
**Despite being a longtime and involved member of the OHSFCA, Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia did not attend the games.
A 14-person grand jury begins hearing from witnesses this week as part of an investigation into whether other laws were broken in connection with the incident last summer in which two Steubenville players were convicted of rape last month.
Saccoccia is expected to be called to testify before the grand jury but it’s unclear if he or any other Steubenville Schools employees will eventually face charges.
Three Stuebenville players played for the South team in the big-school game.
**After a bout with cancer that forced him to be away from coaching in each of the last two seasons, it was great to see Glenville coach Ted Ginn Sr. looking healthy and walking the sidelines on Saturday.
**Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis spoke to the players on Saturday morning about his journey to the NFL, his family’s experience with Hurricane Katrina, the importance of education and a variety of topics. The speech took place behind closed doors at the players’ hotel, but by all accounts was both powerful and memorable.
**The Cleveland Browns are a longtime financial contributor to the game and again this year made a sizable donation. The Ohio National Guard was the game’s primary sponsor.