Locals enjoy Jack Arvin experience
HUBBARD — The Jack Arvin Football Classic is billed as a contest between Trumbull and Mahoning County all-star players. But this year the 33rd annual game featured 14 players from Columbiana County. Even head coach Michael Demster hails from United Local.
On Thursday night, the Mahoning team suffered a disappointing 20-7 loss to a talented and athletic Trumbull team. Despite the loss, the Columbiana County players enjoyed the experience to test themselves against the top athletes in the area.
“It’s been a really great opportunity,” Salem’s James Monigold said. “I’m glad I got a chance to play with all of these guys. I played with the best of the best from the Valley.”
“It means a lot to get to play in this game, coming from Wellsville,” Tigers standout Branzen Grodhaus said. “We’re not really from around here, so it was different playing with these big-time D1, D2 athletes.”
For Grodhaus, it was even more special since he was a last-minute addition to the team, “I was actually the last player called for the team. (Demster) called me last Wednesday to come play on the team. I was like heck yeah, man. I wanted to get a chance to play with all these great players and a great team. It was awesome.”
“It was really nice being able to play with all this exceptional talent from around the area,” East Liverpool’s David Locke said. “There was a lot of skill in this game.”
“It was awesome to have like a great group of talent to come together. It’s fun to be on a team like this,” Columbiana’s Sean Congemi said. “Everyone already knows what their doing so there is no arguments. Everyone’s just having a good time.”
That skill was on display early in the game as the Trumbull team scored on their second possession when Ohio Mr. Football runner-up Lynn Bowden from Warren Harding sprinted 65-yards for a touchdown at the 6:46 mark of the quarter. Trumbull added a second touchdown at the 7:10 mark of the second quarter when Bowden tossed a screen pass to Tyriq Ellis from Howland with him eluding numerous tackles in route to a 71-yard pass and run.
Mahoning found the end zone two possessions later when Austintown Fitch’s JC Mikovich raced around left end on a 75-yard punt return to make it 14-7 with 2:04 before halftime. Mahoning had a 47-yard field goal attempt fall wide left and short at the very end of the half, leaving the score 14-7 at the intermission.
Trumbull tacked on an additional touchdown at the 8:09 mark of the fourth quarter when Bowden scrambled around on a broken play and heaved a 57-yard scoring strike to his Harding teammate Marlin Richardson to make it 20-7. Temper flared shortly thereafter with the officials calling the game with 3:15 remaining following several unsportsman penalties.
For players like Grodhaus and Congemi, they had the opportunity to play against athletes from much bigger schools like Warren Harding, Howland, and Niles. Through it all, they battled and held their own.
“It was fun. It’s going to get me ready for West Liberty,” Grodhaus said. “Playing with all these guys who are really good athletes. I’m happy I got the chance to come up here and play with these guys.”
“Coming from a team like me, I’m one of the bigger guys are our team and I come to a team like this and I’m one of the smaller guys,” Congemi said. “I’m as big as our (Mahoning team) running backs and I’m a lineman on Columbiana. It’s just weird.”
“A lot of good athletes going at it. There are going to be feuds like that, everyone’splaying with a lot of heart,” Congemi remarked about the ending.
“They had some pretty good athletes. I’m not going to lie about it,” Monigold said.
“The game was good up until that last quarter, where the refs canceled it” Locke added with a chuckle.
Lynn Bowden was named player of the game for the Trumbull team, while JC Mikovich earned the honor for the Mahoning squad.
TR–Lynn Bowden 65 run (pass failed)
TR–Tyriq Ellis 71 pass from Bowden (Mason Borawiec pass from Bowden)
MA–JC Mikovich 75 punt return (Ryan Teminsky kick)
TR–Marlin Richardson 57 pass from Bowden (pass failed)