Game MVP Verlon Reed and South head coach Mark Crabtree celebrate a 23-20 victory. (Photo by Gary Housteau)
The Ohio North-South Classic made its April debut with Friday night’s game at Ohio Stadium. The South squad, powered by a 37-yard touchdown run by Ohio State signee Verlon Reed, claimed a 23-20 win before 5,000 at the Horsehoe.
It was the first of what Verlon Reed hopes is many touchdowns for him in Ohio Stadium and it also helped his South squad win Friday night’s Ohio North-South Classic.
Reed, an OSU signee, took off on a quarterback draw and had a key 37-yard touchdown in the third quarter as the South team took a 23-20 before an estimated crowd of 5,000 at the Horseshoe. The game made its April debut at Ohio Stadium Friday night after being played in June the last several years.
“It’s obviously a bonus when you win, but just the experience of working with these guys and seeing it all come together on game night it’s pretty special,” said South head coach Mark Crabtree of Dublin Coffman. “It came down to a couple plays. We thought we would have a few legitimate opportunities to have some more big plays. We just missed on a few of those passes.”
Reed was named the game's MVP solely on the basis of that one play, which allowed the South to grab a commanding 23-12 lead late in the third quarter. He was 1 of 7 passing for 10 yards with an interception. He had five carries for 45 yards.
“It’s a big bonus,” Reed said of his MVP honor. “I wasn’t expecting this. Everybody was competing. Inside the lines, everybody was competitive.”
South quarterback Patrick Angle was 7 of 12 passing for 115 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
For the North, OSU signee Tyrone Williams had two catches for 19 yards and a two-point conversion catch. OSU signee J.T. Moore had four tackles with a sack.
“It was exciting to be out here playing under the lights,” Moore said. “Verlon Reed, I knew he was good but I didn’t know how good he was. He’s a hell of a player.”
Also for the North, quarterback Jerrod Ronyak completed 8 of 16 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Both of those 56-yard scoring tosses went to wide receiver Chase Hammond, who finishedwith three catches for 123 yards.
After forcing a North punt to open the game, the South ran a trick play on its first play. Quarterback Patrick Angle took an end around pitch and hit tight end Alex Welch for a 28-yard gain to the North 35-yard line. But on first down at the 23, Verlon Reed’s pass to Welch was intercepted by North's Parnell Taylor. He returned it 32 yards to the North 48-yard line.
“It was a great read, it was just a little late,” Reed said. “He made a great play. I had to make sure he didn’t bring it back to the end zone.”
On third-and-14, Jerrod Ronyak threw it up for grabs down the right sideline. Chase Hammond caught it at the 23 over South’s Arryn Chenault and took it in for the 56-yard TD. A bad snap doomed the PAT, but the North was up 6-0 with 6:13 left in the first quarter.
That score stood until late in the first half, when three touchdowns were scored in the final 42 seconds. The South tied the game at 6-6 after a six-play, 59-yard scoring possession. Angle hit Jack Tomlinson on a crossing route pass for the 32-yard TD. The PAT was blocked by North’s Micah Robinson, but the game was tied at 6-6 with 42 seconds left first half
North’s Christian Bryant returned the ensuing kickoff 24 yards to the North 35. Ronyak then hit Tyrone Williams on a square in route for 9 yards. After a timeout, Ronyak went downtown down the left sideline to Chase Hammond 56 yard TD over South's Avery Cunningham for the score with 17 seconds left in the half. The PAT was blocked by South’s Roosevelt Nix, but the North led 12-6.
The South then attempted a deep pass from Angle to Reed, but it was intercepted by North's Luke Wollet. Instead of falling on the ball with 2 ticks left, the North tried a pass. But South's Mark Fackler stripped quarterback E.J. Tucker and Nix scooped it and went 40 yards for the score on the final play of the half. Kyle Clinton’s successful PAT kick put the South up 13-12 at halftime.
The South tacked on a 27-yard field goal by Clinton for a 16-12 lead with 5:39 left in the third quarter.
The South took over after a punt at the North 47. On first down, Reed hit Nick McKnight for 10 yards. On the next play, Reed took off up the middle on a quarterback draw, broke a tackle and was gone for the 37-yard touchdown to make it 23-12 with 2:07 left in the third.
“In the first half, my right guard was saying, ‘That inside ‘backer is bailing, so come in right behind me,’ ” Reed said. “Then, I was more patient. I made my read. I kept telling myself, ‘As soon as I break that seam, I’m taking it to the end zone.’ I didn’t expect to break that last tackle, either. But once I broke it, I could feel all that heat and pressure coming down on me because I was about to score.
“It was great. We had been talking in the pregame and you don’t expect it to happen. But we were able to get it.”
The North drove for a first down at the South 5 early in the fourth quarter. But on fourth-and-goal there, South’s Jibreel Black sacked Tucker to snuff the threat.
The South appeared to have everything under control, taking over after a North punt with 3:13 left. But on first down, Angle was blasted by Jayrone Elliott and North’s Antonio Kinard made the interception and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown.
Tucker then threw a jump ball on the two-point conversion pass to the 6-7 Williams. He went up and got it in the left corner of the end zone, drawing the North within three at 23-30 with 2:36 left.
“It felt good,” Williams said. “He threw the ball up lightly and I was able to go up and get it.”
North kicker Casey Spear then recovered his own onside kick. But the North lost the ball on downs after four consecutive incompletions with 1:51 left. The South was able to run out the remaining time to claim the win.
“We thought we had a chance to win it,” Baldwin said. “We executed the onside kick perfectly, but we couldn’t build up anything on the offensive end.”
Notable and Quotable * The North had its two-game winning streak in the series snapped. The North still owns a 38-24-3 lead in the all-time series. The series is tied at 5-5 since it returned to Columbus in 2001.
* This was the 65th annual Ohio North-South Classic. It is the longest running high school all-star game in the country.
* Williams talked about playing his first game in the Horseshoe. “It was fun playing against people I will play with in the future,” he said. “Our defense did good and our offense did all right. They were the better team, so they won.”
* Bryant had four tackles and a 25-yard kick return for the North squad. “It was good competition throughout the week,” he said. “It was good to play against these guys who I’ll be seeing in the future. Our guys played their hearts out. It was a great experience just being here and getting a feel for it and getting ready for this upcoming summer and trying to win a spot.”
Bryant was actually ejected from the game after tossing the ball toward an official after a third-quarter kick return.
“I threw the ball to the ref and he thought I threw it too hard,” he said. “I didn’t mean anything by it. I just tossed him the ball. I guess he felt disrespected from that.”
* Baldwin had three tackles in the game as well for the North. “I hadn’t played since November,” he said. “It felt good to get back out here. It also felt good to play here. I’m really excited to come down after getting a game in here.”
* Members of the OSU football team attended the game in the first half and the OSU marching band performed in the pregame and at halftime.
65th Ohio North-South Classic Friday, April 23, 2010 Ohio Stadium
North 6 6 0 8 - 20 South 0 13 10 0 - 23
North: Chase Hammond (Youngstown Boardman) 56 pass from Jerrod Ronyak (Mentor Lake Catholic), kick failed, 6:13.
South: Jack Tomlinson (Westerville South) 32 pass from Patrick Angle (Logan) , kick blocked, :42
North: Chase Hammond (Youngstown Boardman) 56 pass from Jerrod Ronyak (Mentor Lake Catholic), kick blocked, :17
North: Antonio Kinard (Youngstown Liberty) 45 interception return, Tyrone Williams (East Cleveland Shaw) from E.J. Tucker (Toledo Rogers), 2:36
North: E.J. Tucker (Toledo Rogers) 8-38, Tyson Gulley (Akron Garfield) 8-38, Erick Howard (North Canton Hoover) 2-9, Aaron Maslowski (Medina Highland) 1-5, Jerrod Ronyak (Mentor Lake Catholic) 4 minus-40.
South: Verlon Reed (Columbus Marion-Franklin) 5-45, Nathan Carpenter (Lancaster) 5-24, Tavion Wright (Dayton Thurgood Marshall) 3-16, Marcus Johnston (Coshocton) 3-12, Heath Jackson (Ada) 1-9, Patrick Angle (Logan) 5 minus-1.
North: Jerrod Ronyak (Mentor Lake Catholic) 8-16-134 2 TDs, 0 INT; E.J. Tucker (Toledo Rogers) 4-10-34 0 TD, 1 INT
South: Patrick Angle (Logan) 7-12-115, 0 TD, 2 INT; Verlon Reed (Columbus Marion-Franklin) 1-7-10, 0 TD, 0 INT
North: Chase Hammond (Youngstown Boardman) 3-123, Tyrone Williams (East Cleveland Shaw) 2-19, Ben Eisel (Cleveland St. Ignatius) 3-14, Brendan Carozzoni (Cleveland St. Ignatius) 1-8, Anthony Schrock (Wadsworth) 1-8, Aaron Maslowski (Medina Highland) 1-2, Tyson Gulley (Akron Garfield) 1 minus-6.
South: Jack Tomlinson (Westerville South) 2-63, Alex Welch (Cincinnati Elder) 3-41, Nick McKnight (Middletown) 2-19, Lamar Davenport (Springfield) 1-2.
GAME MVP: Verlon Reed (Marion-Franklin) SOUTH OFFENSIVE MVP: Jack Tomlinson (Westerville South) SOUTH DEFENSIVE MVP: Jibreel Black (Cincinnati Wyoming) NORTH OFFENSIVE MVP: Chase Hammond (Youngstown Boardman) NORTH DEFENSIVE MVP: Jewone Snow (Canton McKinley)