Big plays snag Buckeyes

NEW MIDDLETOWN – The 35th annual Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic provided a tough workout for seniors on both sides, but the Ohio side felt it a little more in the all-star game at Springfield High School.

“We were holding them, just a couple of big plays got us,” Brendon Carr of Wellsville said. “Defensively we had them, and they just got away from us. Other than that, I thought we played a good game.”

Carr, along with fellow Wellsville senior Marcus Moxley, had key tackles throughout the second half, but had to deal with the speed and skill of New Brighton wide receiver Craig Thompson, who was selected as MVP from the Pennsylvania team.

“We played with a lot of heart,” Moxley said. “We just had a couple big plays that tore us apart.”

Ohio also felt the pressure from Pennsylvania defensively as Pennsylvania held Ohio to just seven points, courtesy of a 6-yard pass from Ohio quarterback Collin Gilbert to fellow Crestview senior Josh McDade in the third quarter.

“I figured there would’ve been a lot more scoring tonight,” McDade said. “Scoring, though, is such a great feeling, especially scoring in an all-star game.”

McDade also felt the pressure of Pennsylvania’s defense as the Keystone state held the Buckeyes scoreless in the first half.

“Their defense was strong, and a lot faster than I expected them to be,” McDade said. “They just kept flying at the ball and were just a lot faster.”

The players, however, also had to deal with emotions, which ran high throughout the game.

“They were running their mouths a little bit,” McDade said. “The Pennsylvania defense is an excellent defense though.”

“It was getting to the point where it was getting a little chippy,” Jordan Everett of Lisbon said.

Regardless of the outcome and emotion, the players were excited to get one final high school football game in, and for Carr and Moxley, the final opportunity to compete was an honor.

“You usually play against some of these guys,” Carr said. “To be on the Ohio team representing my home state to play with some of these guys I’ve played against for four years, it’s just been a great experience.”

“You play with half of them whom you’ve played against, and then you play against people who you will probably never play against again, so it’s amazing,” Moxley said.

McDade will be heading to Iowa Western and will be ready for a new environment.

“Going out west, getting away from here a little bit,” McDade said. “I think it’s going to be a great experience.”

Meanwhile, the Stateline Classic was the first game with Carr, Everett and Moxley as a team, but it wasn’t the last. Along with Marcus Crittenden of Salem, the four will return to the gridiron as Terriers as they begin their freshman college season at Hiram.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Crittenden said. “It’s cool just to see what they’re like as teammates now so I can see what they’ll be like in the future.”

“It’s nice I already had this chance to play with them in one game,” Everett said. “I already have that knowledge of how they play.”

Carr, Crittenden, Everett and Moxley start training Aug. 13, and kick off the season Sept. 6 against Westminster.