Players from Norwalk and St. Paul along with several others were on the North team in a 46-32 loss to the South team in the 34th annual North Central Ohio Football Coaches Association All-Star Classic at Lexington High School.
Norwalk running back Trevon Raymore scored twice — once on a five-yard run and later on a 60-yard pass.
"It was a great experience," Raymore said. "I got to show off what I have. I loved it."
The North ran 11 plays on its opening drive before turning it over. Raymore rumbled 19 yards on the game's first play, but the drive stalled.
The South responded quickly with two first downs before East Knox's Kasson Krownapple hit Lucas' Jebadiah Grover on a half-back pass for 46 yards and the score. The extra point was blocked by Norwalk's Tche Leroux, who along with Raymore will head to Bowling Green State University as a preferred walk-on.
Later, the South took over at its own 41. After a short run for no gain, Clear Fork's Jared Schaefer connected with high school teammate Caden Flynn for a 59-yard score. The two-point run attempt failed, but the lead was 12-0.
In the second quarter, Ontario's Noah Creed intercepted Crestview's Brevin King and returned it 26 yards for the score. Cardington's Branden Steckel added the extra point.
The South added one more score when Grover rumbled in from seven yards out and Steckel added the extra point with 5:17 left in the second quarter.
The North got on the scoreboard for the first time in the third quarter. After South Central's Cristiano Murphy intercepted a pass, King found Bucyrus' Harley Robinson-Koge for a 14-yard touchdown pass. Plymouth's Austin Roblin added the extra point with 9:20 left.
The South responded as Schaefer again hooked up with Flynn for a 32-yard score.
A short punt later gave the North good field position and they took advantage of it. Swartzmiller threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Wynford's Blake Sparks.
After a long kickoff return by St. Paul's Noah Good, Raymore scored his touchdown run to draw the North within 32-20 with 53 seconds left in the third quarter.
"There was a lot of nostalgia to come back and play one more game," said Good, who will head to Ohio Northern University to continue his football career. "You are playing for your hometown and for your family. You may never get the chance to do this again."
Schaefer opened the scoring in the fourth quarter when he found Krownapple for a 37-yard touchdown but the North responded when Swartzmiller scored on a five-yard run.
Each team added a score in the final three minutes as the teams combined for 52 points in the second half. Raymore's 60-yard catch and run came with 1:56 left.
"At the last second the quarterback said to swing out left," Raymore said. "I did and I turned my head and the ball was in my hands. I made a cut back and scored six."
Kaden Livingston also represented Norwalk. He will continue his football career at Baldwin-Wallace University. Meanwhile, Gavin Starcher took a break from his busy summer baseball schedule and also suited up for St. Paul.
"Playing with the Norwalk kids was cool," Good said. "They are great players and very talented. It was fun being out there and seeing all the talent."
Plymouth (Kade Collins), Willard (Jerett Sowers, Zach Mahl), South Central (Tycen Cooper), New London (Kevin Fridenstine), and Western Reserve (Jacob Martz) also represented area schools in the game.
Leroux was also awarded the Defensive Lineman of the Game afterwards, while Norwalk junior kicker Garrison Smith won a kicking contest at halftime of Friday’s game. Roblin was named the Special Teams Player of the Game for his kicking.
North 0 0 20 12 — 32
South 12 14 6 14 — 46
S — Jebadiah Grover 46 pass Kasson Krownapple (kick blocked), 6:41
S — Caden Flynn 59 pass from Jared Schaefer (run failed), 1:26
S — Noah Creed 26 interception (Branden Steckel kick), 12:43
S — Grover 7 run (Steckel kick), 8:48
N — Harley Robinson-Koge 14 pass from Brevin King (Austin Roblin kick), 9:20
S — Flynn 32 pass from Schaefer (kick blocked), 5:14
N — Blake Sparks 21 pass from Blaine Swartzmiller (run failed), 2:53
N — Raymore 5 run (Roblin kick), 52.8
S — Krownapple 37 from Schaefer (Steckel kick), 13:27
N — Swartzmiller 6 run (run failed), 9:42
S — Krownapple 54 run (Steckel kick), 2:11
N — Raymore 60 pass from King (run failed), 1:56