In the 62nd Annual Grange Insurance Ohio North-South Classic Saturday at Columbus Crew Stadium, the South squad dominated the North 50-7 led by game MVP Chris Givens. But several other players did their part in leading the South to the lopsided win.
Matt Natali has more on the South squad's top performers.
COLUMBUS – In the 62nd Annual Grange Insurance Ohio North-South Classic Saturday at Columbus Crew Stadium, the South squad dominated the North 50-7 to narrow the North’s all-time series lead to 34-25-3.
WR Chris Givens of Chillicothe was named the game MVP leading the South with six catches for 123 yards and two TDs, but several other players did their part in leading the South to the lopsided win.
Mr. Smith Goes To Columbus – And Earns MVP
QB Chris Smith of South Point started the North-South Classic and earned the South Offensive MVP award after going 5-of-6 passing for 111 yards and two TDs.
“I think Chris Givens should have just gotten all of (the awards),” Smith joked after the game. “He made us all look good. But it is an honor; I enjoy it and look forward to hanging it up on the wall.”
Smith, a Marshall recruit, connected with Givens for his first TD of the game in the first quarter on a 27-yard strike then hit Bo Delande (Hilliard Davidson) in the fourth quarter for another 27-yard TD strike.
“I thought it was going to be a close game because all week the North was straight-faced and we were just having a lot of fun and goofing around,” Smith said. “We came out here and just did everything right and came out on top.”
As a senior at South Point, Smith passed for 1,400 yards and 15 TDs with 500 yards on the ground earning second team all-state honors for the second straight year. For his high school career, Smith had 5,900 yards passing with 57 TDs and 1,325 yards rushing and 23 TDs.
He was one of four captains for the South squad.
“It is a huge honor (playing in this game) because out of the whole state of Ohio – which is a great football state – there were only 68 players chosen and I feel blessed to be one of them. We just had a lot of fun out here and it was a great week,” said Smith. “I made a lot of life-long friends this week.
“It was a great way to go out ending a high school career.”
Keeping it Cope-asetic
With two interceptions in the North-South Classic, including a 26-yard return for a TD late in the third quarter, Josh Copeland of Fairborn picked up South Defensive MVP honors.
“It has been a great honor to be elected to play in this game,” Copeland said. “There have been so many great players and just to be here and to get this award is a blessing in itself.”
Despite his individual success in the game, Copeland credited his South teammates for his accolades and the huge win.
“It was our (defensive line),” he said. “All week in practice our (defensive line) got inside the offensive line and caused havoc. We knew if they could do that we could cover our man and force the QB to make a bad decision by under-throwing or throwing on the run. We were just fortunate enough to be in position to make plays.”
After back-to-back North wins, Copeland is glad the trophy is back on the South’s side and he was able to contribute to the win.
“It feels good. Hopefully the South can keep this tradition and keep it going,” he said.
“I would like to say to the South team that they are my family now. We are going to be calling and checking up on each other all the time.”
Copeland, who starred on the offensive side of the ball at QB for Fairborn, is a Buffalo signee and is headed to New York at the end of the month.
“I am just going to try and do the best I can do. Hopefully they can give me a chance to try and prove myself. And with God on my side like tonight, he is going to put me in the right position. I just need to step it up,” he said.
“Hopefully I can get up there, start learning the defense and the system and get ready to go. First game against Rutgers – I can’t wait!”
A Scoring Jones – And A Scoring Replogle
Centerville LB Tyler Replogle, an Indiana recruit, opened up the scoring in the game with a 13-yard interception return for a TD just over a minute into the game to give the South a 7-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, after the South had already built a 23-0 lead, LB Greg Jones of Moeller picked off a Ryan Ottney (Fremont Ross) pass and returned it 17 yards for a TD to put the South up 30-0.
Jones is a Michigan State recruit.
“I will never, ever forget this. It has been great,” said Jones after the game. “Whatever I do, I give it my best and I had to represent Moeller, Michigan State and Cincinnati.”