OHSFCA North-South Game Preview: Rosters, Position Grades and Vitals

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OHSFCA North-South Classic

The 67th annual OHSFCA North-South Classic kicks off Friday at 4 p.m. at Ohio Stadium. As always, the game will feature the best Ohio has to offer in high school football. Here’s who is playing, who we think impacts the game and how you can catch it in person and on TV.


OHSFCA NORTH-SOUTH CLASSIC

VITALS

What: 67th OHSFCA North-South Classic
When: Friday, 4 p.m.
Where: Ohio Stadium
TV: The game will air on SportsTime Ohio at 5 p.m. on Saturday (Other showings TBD)
Live Online Broadcast: wrscsports.com
Tickets: $5 at the door.
Media Contact: Brent LaLonde (614-562-0940/lalondepr@gmail.com)
Series: North owns a 38-25-3 lead in the all-time series. The South holds a 6-5 lead since the Classic returned to Columbus in 2001.
Practices: Teams practice Wednesday ad Thursday in Columbus.

PREVIEW: OUR TAKE

Quarterback: Based on college destinations and playoff success, the South holds a decisive edge at QB with Kenton’s Maty Mauk (Missouri) and Lima Central Catholic’s Ty O’Connor (Michigan State) taking the snaps. Keep an eye on Akron SVSM’s Kevin Besser (Walsh) on the North team. He could surprise. Edge: South.  Mauk and O’Connor are as formidable a duo as you can find in an all-star game.

Running Back: The North has an outstanding cupboard in Boardman’s Devin Campbell (Buffalo), Ravenna’s D.J. Jones (Akron), Ursuline’s Jesse Curry (undecided) and Wadsworth’s Jack Snowball (Miami).  It’s clear the North wants to run. The South – which will run more spread – has just two RBs on the roster in Johnstown-Monroe’s Ross Franklin (Findlay) and Columbus DeSales’ Warren Ball (Ohio State).  It will be interesting to see how many carries that tandem gets. Edge: North…based mostly on sheer numbers. Campbell could be a difference maker.

Receiver: The South has quite a WR line-up with Wayne’s Armani Miller (Toledo), Dublin Coffman’s Marcus Davis (Toledo), Thomas Worthington’s Nana Kyeremeh (West Virginia), Elida’s Austin Etzler (Valparaiso) and Middletown’s Zach Edwards (Cincinnati). The TEs are Marysville’s Craig Runyan (Toledo) and Kenton’s Brice Fackler (Kent State). One player to keep an eye on for the North is Lakewood St. Edward TE Sam Grant (Oklahoma). Grant is the only TE on the North roster. Two other players on the North that could impact the contest via trick play are Aurora’s Anthony Melchiori (Kent State) and Western Reverve’s Jeff Clegg (undecided). Both are listed as QB/WRs. Edge: South. Mauk (and O’Connor) has played with talented receivers before, but not a line-up quite like this.

OL: Both lines feature good depth and strong starting fives. The North is anchored by a pair of West Virginia recruits in Lakewood St. Edward’s Tyler Orlosky and Manchester’s Tony Matteo. The South features a big, athletic line-up heavy on Big Ten commits, including Sycamore’s A.J. Williams (Michigan), Mason’s Josh Spencer (Illinois) and Ridgewood’s Evan Jones (Michigan State).  Edge: South. Slight.

DL: The North is loaded, especially on the ends with Hoban’s LaTroy Lewis (Tennessee) and Greg McMullen (Nebraska) and Mentor’s Tom Strobel (Michigan). Glenville DT Willie Henry (Michigan) is solid inside. The South counters with two big run stoppers in Marion-Franklin’s Terrell Jackson (Pitt) and Cincinnati Oak Hill’s Chris Fairchild (Kent State), The duo weighs a combined 573.  Edge: North. The pass-rush could be substantial.

LB: The North features several great athletes at this position including Glenville’s Devan Bogard (Ohio State), Norwayne’s Adam Wallace (undecided), Toledo St. John’s Kent Kern (Miami), Liberty Center’s Brian Hefflinger (undecided) and Kirtland’s Christian Hauber (Air Force). The South doesn’t feature that “big name” backer, but this will give Steubenville’s LeShawn Luke (Mount Union), Colerain’s Jake Blust (Georgwtown), Symmes Valley’s Grant Foster (undecided) and Gahanna Lincoln’s Brian Snoad (Ohio Dominican) a chance to prove how good small college football is. Edge: North. The athleticism at LB is noticeable.

DB: Glenville’s Justin Hardee (Illinois) and University School’s John McKelvey (Minnesota) lead a solid North unit but one that features just three designated DBs on the roster. Three additional players – including Hardee – are also listed as WRs and could see offensive snaps.  The South counters with an extremely deep roster that includes Steubenville’s Najee Murray (Ohio State), Middletown’s Cody Quinn (Kentucky), Xenia’s James Sanford (Bowling Green), Piqua’s Travis Nees (Toledo), Lakota West’s Dawson Fletcher (Indiana), Colerain’s Andre Jones (Cincinnati) and Martins Ferry’s Tyrell Simmons (Undecided). Edge: South. The depth is impressive. The key will be their run support.

Prediction: A look at the rosters offers up a couple key match-ups but one that looks like it favors the South on paper is its WRs against the North’s DBs. The North lacks depth at that position and you can bet the South is going to throw the ball.  Another key match-up is the North’s impressive DL and LB corps going against an athletic South OL. Conversely the North will look to run the ball with its rotation at RB. The South front seven will be tested repeatedly. It’ll be close but I think the South wins its third in a row. Outcome: South 30-21.

ROSTERS

NORTH
Head Coach Rex Lingruen, Liberty Center
Coach Andy Hake, Western Reserve
Coach Mike Franklin, Sandusky
Coach Dale Soles, Minerva
Coach Bob Mihalik, Aurora
Coach Jim Stephens, University School

Pos., Player Name, High School, Ht., Wt., HS Coach, Colllege
LB Devan Bogard, Cleveland Glenville, 6’0″, 185, Ted Ginn, Ohio State
WR/DB Anthony Melchiori, Aurora, 6’0″, 185, Bob Mihalik, Kent State
LB Bryan Hefflinger, Liberty Center, 6’1″, 220, Rex Lingruen, Undecided
DB Houston Boone, Euclid, 6-0″, 165, Tom Gibbons, Undecided
LB/RB Jesse Curry, Youngstown Ursuline, 6’0″, 190, Dan Reardon, Undecided
QB/WR Jeff Clegg, Western Reserve, 6’0″, 190, Andy Hake, Undecided
RB Jack Snowball, Wadsworth, 5’11”, 214, Greg Dennison, Miami
WR Quincy Jones, Lakewood St. Edward, 6’3″, 205, Rick Finotti, Eastern Michigan
LB Kent Kern, Toledo St. John’s, 6’1″, 225, Doug Pearson, Miami
DL LaTroy Lewis, Akron Hoban, 6’4″, 235, Ralph Orsini, Tennessee
DL Greg McMullen, Akron Hoban, 6’5″, 280, Ralph Orsini, Nebraska
QB/WR Lucas Poggiali, Sandusky, 6’1″, 185, Mike Franklin, Undecided
RB D.J. Jones, Ravenna, 5’9″, 190, Jim Lunardi , Akron
DB Zach Wade, Minerva, 5’11”, 195, Dale Soles, Undecided
DT Willie Henry, Cleveland Glenville, 6’3″, 230, Ted Ginn, Michigan  
QB Kevin Besser, St. Vincent/St. Marys, 6’3″, 200, Dan Boarman, Walsh
WR Matt Eckhardt, Avon, 5’11”, 180, Mike Elder, Undecided
DB John McKelvey, University School, 6’0″, 185, Jim Stevens, Minnesota
RB Devin Campbell, Youngstown Boardman, 6’0″, 190, Mark D’ermano, Buffalo
WR/DB Alex Winters, Massillon Washington, 6’0″, 175, Jason Hall, Undecided
LB/FB Christian Hauber, Kirtland, 6’1″, 225, Phillip “Tiger” Laverde, Air Force
DL Thomas Strobel, Mentor, 6’6″, 260, Steve Trivisonno, Michigan
LB Adam Wallace, Norwayne, 6’2″, 200, Joe Harbour, Undecided
OL/DL Justin Gillen, Liberty Center, 6’4″, 275, Rex Lingruen, Undecided
OL Tyler Orlosky, Lakewood St. Edward, 6’4″, 290, Rick Finotti, West Virginia
OL Tony Matteo, Manchester, 6’5″, 290, Jim France, West Virginia
OL Troy Watson, Aurora, 6’6″, 286, Bob Mihalik, Ohio
OL Nate Hoff, Solon, 6’1″, 295, Jim McQuaide, Navy
OL Tad France, Elyria, 6’4″, 265, Kevin Fell, Kent State
OL Mike Brown, Sandusky, 6’2″, 285, Mike Franklin, Eastern Michigan
OL Alex Todd, Streetsboro, 6’4″, 285, John Arlesic, Indiana
WR Kyle Crum, Minerva, 6’5″, 210, Dale Soles, Kent State
WR Malcolm Robinson, Canton McKinley, 6’2″, 185, Ron Johnson, Buffalo
TE Sam Grant, St. Edwards, 6’7″, 240, Rick Finotti, Oklahoma
K Steven Smith, Tiffin Calvert, 5’9″, 160, Todd Fox, Undecided
WR/DB Justin Hardee, Cleveland Glenville, 6’2″, 185, Ted Ginn, Illinois

SOUTH
Head Coach Mike Mauk, Kenton
Coach Reno Sacciccia, Steubenville
Coach John Snoad, Gahanna Lincoln
Coach Mike Shafer, Maderia
Coach Rusty Webb, Symmes Valley
Coach Darren Crabtree, Lucasville Valley
Coach Rich Goodrich, Cambridge

Pos., Player Name, High School, Ht., Wt., HS Coach, Colllege

WR Marcus Davis, Dublin Coffman, 5’9″, 170, Mark Crabtree, Toledo
DB Najee Murray, Steubenville, 5’10”, 185, Reno Saccoccia, Ohio State
DB Cody Quinn, Middletown, 5’10”, 170, Troy Everhart, Kentucky
DB/WR Nana Kyeremeh, Thomas Worthington, 5’10”, 170, Scott Gordon, West Virginia
WR Armani Miller, Wayne, 6’0″, 175, Jay Minton, Toledo
DB James Sanford, Xenia, 6’2″, 183, Bob DeLong, Bowling Green
QB Maty Mauk, Kenton, 6’2″, 200, Mike Mauk, Missouri
DB Travis Nees, Piqua, 6’0″, 201, Bill Nees, Toledo
TE Brice Fackler, Kenton, 6’2″, 215, Mike Mauk, Kent State
QB Tyler O’Connor, Lima Central Catholic, 6’3″, 212, Jerry Cooper, Michigan State
K Brad Miller, Valley View, 5’11”, 165, Jay Niswonger, Kent State
DL Jhahil Croley, Princeton, 6’2″, 250, Gary Croley, Jr., Bowling Green
DB Dawson Fletcher, Lakota West, 6’1″, 190, Larry Cox, Indiana
WR Austin Etzler, Elida, 6’1″, 185, Jason Carpenter, Valparaiso
DB Andre Jones, Colerain, 6’2″, 195, Tom Bolden, Cincinnati
LB LaShawn Luke, Stuebenville, 5’6″, 200, Reno Saccoccia, Mount Union
DB Tyrell Simmons, Martins Ferry, 6’3″, 205, Dave Burney, Undecided
RB Ross Franklin, Johnstown Monroe, 6’0″, 210, Mike Carter, Findlay
DL Terrell Jackson, Marion-Franklin, 6’3″, 270, Brian Haffele, Pittsburgh
RB Warren Ball, DeSales, 6’2″, 215, Ryan Wiggins, Ohio State
TE Craig Runyan, Marysville, 6’4″, 230, Jeff Gafford, Toledo
LB Jake Blust, Colerain, 6’0″, 220, Tom Bolden, Georgetown
LB Grant Foster, Symmes Valley, 6’1″, 220, Rusty Webb, Undecided
OL Evan Jones, Ridgewood, 6’6″, 245, John Slusser, Michigan State
LB Brian Snoad, Gahanna Lincoln, 6’1″, 220, John Snoad, Ohio Dominican
DL Bryson Albright, St. Xavier, 6’6″, 210, Steve Specht, Miami
DL Chris Fairchild, Oak Hill, 6’3″, 303, Randy Homa, Kent State
OL/DL Reno Reda, Watkins Memorial, 6’6″, 250, Jeff Severino, Kent State
OL Curt Crabtree, Lucasville Valley, 6’2″, 270, Darren Crabtree,
OL Brandyn Cook, St. Xavier, 6’2″, 295, Steve Specht, Pittsburgh
OL Kyle Williamson, Maderia, 6’5″, 275, Mike Shafer, Cincinnati
DL Jason Stargel, Walnut Hills, 6’4″, 220, George Kontsis, Akron
OL Joe Spencer, Mason, 6’3″, 280, Brian Castner, Illinois
OL AJ Williams, Sycamore, 6’6″, 270, Scott Dattilo, Michigan
DL Jalen Robinette, Bexley, 6’3″, 200, John Smith, Air Force
WR Zach Edwards, Middletown, 5’10”, 175, Troy Everhart, Cincinnati

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