CENTERVILLE — Sidney senior offensive lineman AJ Brussell and Dylan Smith blocked for a winning offense again during the Miami Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game on Friday at Centerville Stadium. They also got a free lesson in storm spotting.
Brussell and Smith helped the North earn a 13-7 win in the MVFCA’s 35th All-Star Game, which drastically shortened due to lighting. The North and South squads, which had practiced for the last two weeks, weren’t a full minute into the second quarter before lightning was spotted.
“It was fun for me to get back out here one last time,” Smith said. “This is my last football game, so it was fun to get back out here. It was unfortunate it had to end like that, but I still got the opportunity, so I’ll take it.”
The game was scheduled for a 7 p.m. start but didn’t kick off until about 8:45 due to a thunderstorm. MVFCA officials decided to shorten each quarter to 10 minutes, but only one play was run in the second quarter before officials spotted lightning.
Play resumed at about 9:45, but after three plays, an official spotted lighting. MVFCA game director John Aregood and other association personnel decided to cancel the game after seeing radar maps which showed a storm to be heading for Centerville. As of 11:15, no storm had hit the town.
“I didn’t see (lightning) the last time,” Smith said. “I wanted to play, but if they saw it, I guess it’s for our safety.”
The game, which has run since 1975, is the largest fundraiser of the year for the coaches’ association. It’s been at seven locations since its inception, including Northmont, Welcome Stadium and Centerville in the last decade. It’s been at Centerville Stadium since 2015.
Despite the cancellation, Brussell said participating in the game was still a great experience.
“Meeting all these great guys from all around Ohio was fun,” Brussell said. “Really great football players.”
The game usually features a few dozen players who will play in college but also has many like Smith, who are playing for the last time. Smith will attend Ohio State and wants to study pharmaceutical sciences. He started at center on Friday.
“It was interesting,” Smith said. “The first practice was a little interesting for being off awhile, but it was a great experience to get back out here one last time. It’s over now, so on to the next chapter.”
Brussell will attend Capital and will play both football and baseball. He started at right tackle.
“It really brought things into perspective,” Brussell said. “These guys are really good. It made me realize I’d have to work really hard in college to earn my spot.”
John Bell (Chaminade-Julienne) scored on an 8-yard touchdown run with 7:26 left in the first to put South ahead 7-0. South did little on offense the rest of the way, though, while North took over.
Trotwood-Madison quarterback Markell Stephens-Peppers, who led the Rams to a 15-0 record and Division III state title last year, ran for a 6-yard touchdown with 4:09 left. North missed the extra point but quickly took control.
Jaden Jenkins (Springfield Kenton Ridge) ended South’s next drive with an interception he returned to the 12-yard line. Stephens-Peppers then threw a TD pass to William McDaniel (Trotwood-Madison) to put North ahead 13-7 with 3:10 left.
South had one more drive and punted and North ran one play before the game was called.
It’s the second time in four years the game has been shortened due to weather. It was cancelled with a 14-14 tie in the third quarter in 2015 due to storms.
The North leads the all-time series 22-11-1.
Stephens-Peppers was named the game’s MVP. Logan Jewsikow (Northmont) was named the defensive back of the game while Tommy Peaco was named the offensive lineman of the game.
Bell was named the offensive back of the game while Dylan Haller (Centerville) was the defensive lineman of the game and Julian Pltez (Edgewood) was the special teams player of the game.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.