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Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 04/24/2010 0:09 AM

South Rises to Defeat North
By Tony Gerdeman

The South rose again and defeated the North 23-20 in the 65th edition of the Ohio North South Classic Friday night in Ohio Stadium.

Led by a ferocious pass rush and timely play-making, the South took a 13-12 lead at the end of the first half on a 40-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Roosevelt Nix (Reynoldsburg), and never trailed again.

Leading 16-12 in the third quarter, South quarterback (and future Buckeye) Verlon Reed (Columbus Marion-Franklin) called his own number on a quarterback draw and ran 37 yards for a touchdown, taking the time to stop and break a tackle towards the end of the run.

“I saw two people coming, but I just used my instincts and got in the end zone,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to break the tackle, but once I saw nobody was around, then I knew I was going to the end zone.

Reed’s touchdown put the game at 23-12 in favor of the South and would prove to be the difference in the game. The North scored a late touchdown on an Antonio Kinard (Youngstown Liberty) interception to make the score interesting, but they couldn’t do anything further.

Defensive lineman Jibreel Black (Cincinnati Wyoming) won the Defensive MVP with at least three sacks and as many pressures.

“It feels good,” Black said. “I’ve been working hard in the offseason to get ready, and it just paid off today. I tried to come out in the second half and make some plays for my team and get the win.”

Verlon Reed was named the South Offensive MVP with five carries for 45 yards, but was only 1-7 passing for ten yards.

Receiver Chase Hammond (Youngstown Boardman) won the North Offensive MVP thanks to his three catches for 123 yards and twin 56-yard touchdown catches. By the way, the next time Hammond plays in the Horseshoe, it will be as a Wisconsin Badger.

Linebacker Jewone Snow (Canton McKinley) was the North Defensive MVP.

Buckeye (and other) Notes

Ohio State had five players in the game, with four on the North squad (defensive lineman Darryl Baldwin, defensive lineman J.T. Moore, cornerback Christian Bryant, and wide receiver Tyrone Williams) and one on the South side (quarterback Verlon Moore).

Baldwin is every bit of the 6’7” 265 that they list him. He made a few plays on the night and got into the backfield some, but I would be very surprised if he saw the field in 2010. If the plan is for him to be a strong side defensive end, there’s already enough depth there that the Buckeyes can afford to let him sit a year.

J.T. Moore had a sack and played well in run support. The Ohio State coaches have talked to him about playing outside linebacker and Leo, and he’s all for it. He said he currently weighs 245 pounds and has spent considerable time studying the likes of Vernon Gholston, Thaddeus Gibson and Nathan Williams.

Christian Bryant had a quiet night, but that’s sort of what you want from your cornerback. He was also returning punts, and showed decent hands picking up a bouncing punt in traffic. He seemed to think he could get out of any mess that he found himself in on returns, but was rarely actually able to do so.

I was blown away the first time I saw Tyrone Williams in practice this week. He was an absolute unfair advantage. But in the game, they rarely looked his way and even rolled away from him. He did catch a two-point conversion on a jumpball--which they probably could have done all night long given the fact that he’s 6’7”. When they did look his way, however, the quarterbacks rarely had enough time to get the throw off. Williams finished the night with just two catches for 19 yards.

Verlon Reed did not look sharp throwing the ball, but still found a way to get his team to the end zone. After the game, Reed chalked the incompletions up to a lack of timing, which is common in these types of games.

While the Ohio State signees were the main attraction, it was future Big Ten opponents that stole the show. Receiver Chase Hammond played opposite Tyrone Williams and was very effective running down the sideline and showing the strength to shrug defenders off and keep his feet. At 6’5” 210, he’s what you’d expect from a Badger receiver. Get used to seeing him running down the middle of the field in Camp Randall.

The star of the night, however, was Jibreel Black. He was constantly in the backfield and pretty much controlled the entire second half. He’s not the biggest guy (6’2” 255) in the world, but then neither was Brandon Graham. And when pressed for what was going to happen the next time he plays in the Horseshoe as a Wolverine, Black didn’t hesitate to answer.

“I’ll be doing the same thing,” he laughed. “Pryor better watch out.”

Related Story - Thoughts from BCast on the North-South Game

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