First-half D fuels South victory in Lexington all-star game

LEXINGTON — Eight kids representing four area schools took the field one more time Friday night.

They represented the North, but it was the defense of the South in the first half that proved top-notch in a 46-32 win in the North Central Ohio Football Coaches Association All-Star Classic at Lexington High School.

Seneca East’s Blaine Swartzmiller was named the most outstanding defensive player of the game.

“It was fun to play on both sides of the ball again,” Swartzmiller said. “The award means I must have done a good job. I played to have fun.”

The North ran 11 plays on its opening drive before turning it over. Norwalk’s Trevon 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 46-yard halfback pass for a score. Norwalk’s Tche Leroux blocked the extra point.

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 concession 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 7 yards out and Steckel added the extra point with 5:17 left in the second quarter.

Calvert’s Nicholas Somodi caught four balls for 54 yards for the pass-heavy North.

“We had to have kids step up,” Somodi said. “I went out and caught a couple passes and ended up being the top target.”

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.

“Friday nights will never be forgotten on me,” Swartzmiller said. “This one I got to meet new people and people I won’t forget the rest of my life.”

Raymore scored on a 5-yard touchdown run to draw the North within 32-20 with 52.8 seconds left in the third quarter.

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 5-yard run.

Each team added a score in the final three minutes as the teams combined for 52 points in the second half.

Calvert’s Josh Recker and Austin Jones also played. Recker brought home the most outstanding defensive back award.

“It was fun to get the pads back on again,” Somodi said. “We had a good time. It something you take with you forever.”

Tyler Turek and Collan Martin also represented Seneca East while Grant Shook of Buckeye Central and Alex Wheeler from Upper Sandusky also played.