Defense dominates Regional All-Star Football Game


TOLEDO — Defense dominated the Northwest Ohio Regional All-Star Football Game at Whitmer’s Memorial
But it was one big offensive play that stood out amongst the rest Friday night.
Bowling Green’s Adam Crawford made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone in the third quarter for
the game’s only score, leading the Gold team to a 7-0 victory over the Black squad.
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“I think it’s easier to learn a defense in a week than it is an offense. You’ve got to give credit to the
defenses. They both played great. It just came down to one play,” said Crawford, who caught five passes
for 75 yards.
Springfield quarterback Eric Page scrambled around the backfield before finding his Northern Lakes League
counterpart for a 13-yard strike on the first drive of the second half, providing the only offense of
the game for the near-capacity crowd.
“Once the defense went up I just tried to find a spot that was open,” said Crawford of the game-deciding
play. “I might as well give (Page) the option of passing it … It was a great play by Page.”
Other than the Gold’s score with 8:08 remaining in the third, this game was all about defense.
The Gold team swarmed to the ball, holding Black to minus-7 yards rushing and 124 yards of total offense
for the game. A goal-line stand in the second quarter helped Gold keep the shutout.
“I think we played as a team, as a unit. We played really good team defense. We had a goal-line stand. We
came up with good plays,” said Perrysburg and Gold team linebacker Brandon Butler, who had 12 tackles to
lead all players.
Black’s defense played well also, limiting Gold to 33 yards rushing and 251 yards of offense.
“I thought it would be a little more wide open than it was. It was a definitely a defensive struggle,”
said Black head coach Todd Thieken, the head coach at Evergreen.
The Black team had the ball at the Gold 20-yard line after an interception by Evergreen’s Jordan
McCready. But Black could not score with four plays from inside the 10-yard line.
“That was kind of a killer in the game for us,” Thieken said.
Black was able to move the ball somewhat, with state-champion Southview’s tandem of quarterback Alex
Pidcock and wide receiver Shaun Joplin doing most of the work. Joplin caught 10 passes for 129 yards and
Pidcock threw for 131, but still could not put any points on the scoreboard.
“We made some big plays early. We kind of got the momentum going. 7-0, what a ball game,” said Bowling
Green head coach Jeff Cullen, who was one of the Gold team’s coaches. “We knew our defense might be
pretty good, but (Black) had some offensive weapons. Shutting them out, that’s huge.”
Both offenses struggled with penalties, combining for 12 infractions for a total of 85 yards. Gold
fumbled the ball four times and Black once, but all were recovered by the offense.
“You only have so much time to practice,” Cullen said. “But both teams played a clean game for the most
part. It came down to a couple big plays.”
Gibsonburg’s Andy Gerbich caught four passes for 96 yards. Combined, Gerbich and Crawford had 171 yards
receiving for Gold. Page ran for 37 yards to lead all players. BG’s Dennis Cox had three sacks in the
The game marked the final time on the field for most of the players, as all who participated were
graduated high school seniors.
“This is my last game. It’s disappointing to lose. But I got one last chance to come out here,” said
Northwood offensive/defensive lineman Charles Artino, of the Black team.
“It’s awesome. I wish I could have 100 more games of high school football,” Crawford said. “This is my
last game and I get to be with my coaches, my friends on my team, and I made some new friends this week.
It was pretty special.”
Players from Wood County that played or were on the roster for the game were: BG — Zach Clifford, Cox,
Crawford, Alex Simon; Eastwood — Ashton Brown, James Morlock; Matt Schlumbohm; Lake, — Nick Mikels;
Northwood – Artino, Kyle Gunn; Otsego — Matt Forry; Perrysburg — Butler, Mac Knisely; Rossford — Andy
Halka, Brandon Huner.
“We had a good time all week long,” Cullen said. “Obviously they’re some talented players but they’re
also super individuals to work with.”

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