The sounds and sights of autumn Friday nights were present at Perrysburg's Steinecker Stadium last night.
Springfield High graduate Marquis Hayes and Fairview High graduate Dusty Bergman played integral roles in turning the 13th annual Regional All-Star Football game into an evening that will long be remembered by at least half of the 90 players that took part in the contest.
Hayes intercepted a pass and was in on a dozen tackles to lead the Black All-Stars to a 13-8 victory over the Gold All-Stars.
The former Blue Devils standout was named most valuable player for his all-around contributions, which included playing in the Black All-Stars defensive secondary and offensive backfield. Hayes also returned kicks and punts.
“Coming away with the win and MVP really means a lot,'' said Hayes, who will attend the University of Findlay in the fall. “I did want to get the MVP, but I didn't really know if I was going to get it. I just came out to play.''
Bergman, who will continue playing football and baseball at Tri-State College in Angola, Ind., came through big for the Black All-Stars on offense. The 5-10, 165-pounder was a factor in both of the Black All-Stars' touchdowns. He connected with Archbold graduate Trevor Fruth for a 33-yard touchdown completion with 7:56 to play in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. He also found Northview graduate Tom Tomassini streaking down the middle of the field for a 33-yard touchdown with 20.1 seconds to play in the third quarter to make it a 13-2 lead.
Bergman, who was certainly a candidate for the Black All-Stars' MVP recognition, said the group prepared during the practices with the intention of coming out and winning the contest.
“All week we stressed going out and winning,'' Bergman said. “We wanted to come out and play hard.''
Elmwood coach Dean Zeigler, who worked alongside Fairview coach Bob Olwin to coach the Black All-Stars, said the coaches did very little in terms of trying to teach their group plenty of plays and formations for the All-Star contest. Overall, he thought his team delivered the kind of effort that leads to winning.
“I was really happy with the way our defense held,'' Zeigler said. “We held tough. We didn't let down. We kept playing hard.''
Before a sizable crowd on a pleasant midsummer night when the humidity was low, the intensity on the field was rather high. Plenty of hard hitting took place.
Hayes, along with Ottawa Hills' Kyle Lindsay and Hesham Mostafa, Archbold's Tad Litwiller and Central's Jake Kraus were among those to lead a strong defensive surge. The Black All-Stars proved to be the better of the two teams that had only a week to prepare for the matchup.
The Black All-Stars held the Gold offense scoreless for three quarters. A high snap over the head of Lindsay that bounced into the end zone led to a safety for the Gold All-Stars' first points of the game, coming with 10:13 remaining in the third quarter.
It wasn't until the opening moments of the fourth quarter that the Gold finally scored against the Black defense. Delta graduate Ryan Parsons found Tinora graduate Scott Bostelman on a hitch-and-go play that covered 60 yards for a touchdown with 11:39 remaining in the game. After coming up short on a two-point try, the Gold trailed 13-8.
The Gold had several chances to take the lead during the fourth quarter only to come up empty-handed.
“We came up short in the end,'' said Tinora coach Kenny Krouse, who shared the coaching duties for the Gold with Genoa's Bill Hrabak. “We got the ball moving more in the second half. The defense played well all night long.
“It was just a lot of fun and a great atmosphere to be out here.''
And that was the feeling that was shared on both sides of the football for many of the stars who were probably playing in their last organized contest.
“It's my last game playing in pads,'' said Kraus, who recovered a fumble to kill one of the Gold drives. “I'm putting out my all and letting everything out on the field.''