Area players, coaches gear up for North vs. South football games

Twelve area players and four coaches will participate in the 73rd annual Ohio North vs. South All-Star Classic Football Games at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon on Saturday.

This is the second year the games, billed as the longest running of its kind in the nation, will be anchored at the historic Stark County locale. Previously, they were held at Dayton’s Welcome Stadium and Columbus before that.

Sponsored by the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association, the North-South game originated and had its longest run at Canton’s former Fawcett Stadium.

“This is the highlight for some of these kids, playing in a very elite all-star game and something that will be a lifetime memory for them,” said Miamisburg coach Steve Channell, the all-star game director. “It’s a chance to have the stage at the end of the school year. It’s good to have those kids participate and gain this experience.”

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The combined Divisions IV-VII game will kick off Saturday’s play at noon. The combined Divisions I-III game will follow at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the gate and good for both games.

Area Divisions I-III South members are Meechi Harris (Xenia), Jalen Hinton and Devin Kenerly (Northmont), Tyler Johnson (Miamisburg), Dezmin Lyburtus (Bellefontaine), James Parker (Trotwood-Madison), Devan Rogers (Sidney) and Ben Schmiesing (Piqua).

Area Divisions IV-VII South members are DJ Chambers (Carlisle), Thomas Schweiterman (Coldwater), Tommy Peaco (Northridge) and Bailey Wallen (Brookville).

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Area coaches who will serve as assistants are Tony Broering (Northmont) and Adam Doenges (Sidney) on the South Divisions I-III team and Whit Parks (formerly of Fort Loramie) and Steve Poff (Middletown Madison) on the South Divisions IV-VII team.

The games are for seniors only. Coaches must be members of the OHSFCA to nominate players. All four teams had an initial practice last Sunday, the North at Massillon and the South at Columbus. Players and coaches reported on Wednesday and will have a banquet on Friday night.

Rain and thunderstorms have plagued the games in recent years, which has significantly impacted attendance. Player participation also has been affected by college programs not wanting a recruit to risk being injured, spring sports participation and even prom weekend.

“We knew there would be obstacles,” Channell said. “Every situation is different. In the end, you have to get people in the seats. Hopefully, we’ll have decent weather on Saturday.”

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• The Southwest Ohio Football Coaches Association Ron Woyan All-Star football game will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at Kings High School. This is an East vs. West game for 2018 graduates that draws players from the Cincinnati area and north to Butler and Warren counties.

• The annual Miami Valley Football Coaches Association North vs. South football all-star game will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, June 8 at Centerville High School. Those head coaches are Broering (North) and Marcus Colvin of Chaminade Julienne (South).

That game also is 2018 grads only. Those rosters will be announced next month.

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• The MVFCA recently inducted three head coaches and four assistants into its respective coaches halls of fame.

Inducted as head coaches were Rick Robertson (Springfield North, Fairmont, Oakwood and currently an assistant at West Carrollton) and Pat Masters (Meadowdale). Wat Farrar (Milton-Union) was a legends inductee.

Assistant coach hall of fame inductees were Jim Benetis (Bellbrook), Tom Massie (Fairborn Park Hills, Troy and Tecumseh), Bob Franz (Carroll, CJ, Waynesville, Fairmont, Bellbrook and currently at Oakwood) and Tom Hale (Upper Sandusky, Bradford and currently Arcanum).

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