Calvert-centric line paves the way to victory
By Zach Baker
LEXINGTON - Running backs get the statistics, and often, the headlines.
On Saturday, it was Crestview's Mason Minnich who got top honors in the Buckeye Superstore/McDonald's All-Star Classic in Lexington, where the North, coached by Calvert's Todd Fox and populated with area players, defeated the South, 21-10.
Minnich carried the ball 20 times, ran for 83 yards and a TD, and had three catches for 65 yards.
He was named the game's most valuable offensive player.
But his performance was created by an offensive line that pushed the South around in the second half. Minnich kept going left, where Calvert tackle Alex Recker - along with a host of other Senecas playing on the line - gave him space to move.
"You just gotta execute and follow the way the plays are set up," said Recker, who played on a line that included teammates left guard Nathan Mathias, right tackle Nate Somers and tight end Joe Brickner. "If you do your assignments, and everyone does their assignments, positive results come out of it."
Minnich wasn't the only back to have a big game for the North.
Buckeye Central's Adam Paynter won the award for most valuable offensive back. He and Buck QB Tyler Erwin connected twice on the North's second-quarter scoring drive, the second time on a 10-yard touchdown completion that cut the South's lead to 10-7. Calvert's Stephen Smith added the extra point after the TD.
Paynter finished with three receptions for 33 yards. He also caught a 25-yard strike from Erwin in the end zone in the second half, but was ruled out of bounds.
"It was pretty surprising," Paynter said of the individual honor. "It was a good surprise, though."
Erwin didn't start, but entered the game on fire, connecting on all six of his first-half pass attempts. He finished the game 9 of 12 for 73 yards.
The South's Justin Carver (Mount Gilead) opened the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown run on the game's first drive, and a Harry Stickelman (Ontario) field goal im the second quarter made it 10-0.
But then the North's defense buckled down, led by the game's most valuable defensive back Justin Herrnstein. The BC star led the North's secondary, which allowed the South just a pair of completions after halftime.
"We just relaxed and realized it was just another game," Herrnstein said of the second half.
As for Fox, the Calvert coach once played in this game, and said he was pleased to gain the win as a mentor.
"This is a special time," the Willard graduate said. "This is where I grew up, this part of Ohio, so, it's special for me."
Plymouth's Tyler Hicks added a rushing touchdown for the North.