Ryan Fleck of the Black team is unable to come up with a catch on a two-point try against the Gold's Ray Parker Jr.
For the second year in a row the Regional All-Star football game - established 18 years ago by the Perrysburg High athletic boosters - proved a hit on the road.
A turnout of approximately 2,000 showed up at Whitmer High School last night and witnessed the Black team hold off the Gold in the final seconds for a 22-15 triumph.
The Gold's late comeback attempt with less than a minute to play came up three yards short when a host of Black squad defenders tripped up Gold running back Casey Meridieth at the 3-yard line with four seconds remaining in the game. Time expired before the Gold team - without any timeouts remaining - could run another play.
"We're just fortunate they didn't have anymore timeouts left," said Tom Ferguson, the retired Rossford coach, representing the Black squad coaching staff. "It was a great ballgame from a coach's standpoint or even a fan's point of view. Both teams played outstanding."
Donnie Dottei, The Blade's player of the year last season, made good on his final opportunity playing on his home field.
The Ashland University-bound quarterback figured in on all three of the Black team's offensive scores, throwing touchdown passes of 8 and 10 yards and rushing for a one-yarder.
"It was just a lot of fun getting back out there with my Whitmer boys," said Dottei, who was one of four Panther graduates on the Black team. "We wanted to win it and we wouldn't have wanted it any other way."
The game-deciding touchdown came in the third quarter when Dottei connected on a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alex Renner, a Southview graduate who will also attend Ashland in the fall.
Running back Vyshawn Arnold of the Black team is pulled down by Kyle Barney of the Gold squad in the second quarter.
"It was nice to have a chance to give an Ashland preview," said Renner, of his touchdown reception that resulted in the Black squad leading 22-8 heading into the fourth quarter. "Luckily Donnie saw me in the end zone."
Trailing 14-8 at the half, the Gold team was held scoreless in the third quarter before Meridieth, quarterback Jordan Jackacki of Maumee, and wideout Jimmy Davidson of Findlay, sparked a scoring drive in the fourth quarter. Meridieth came through with a three-yard touchdown run with 7:16 left in the game and Mike Biniecki added the extra point to make it a 22-15 contest.
But the Gold couldn't complete its last drive of the game, which was set up by a fumble recovery by defensive back Levi Smith, of Fostoria St. Wendelin.
"I think the guys had a good time and that was the most important thing," said Edgerton coach Kevin Kline, who shared the head coaching duties for the Gold team with Libbey coach Eric Henderson. "It's amazing how close you become as a team in one week. It was a heartbreaker. We really wanted to win. We could have caved early, but we didn't and we fought back."
The Black squad's defensive unit made it clear it was ready to play from the outset. It registered the first points of the game by recording a safety on the Gold's first play from scrimmage.
Swanton's Greg Yunker, Woodmore's Aaron Wright and Evergreen's Josh Beaverson brought down Meridieth, of Northview, two yards deep in the end zone for a safety with 10 minutes, 40 seconds left in the first quarter.
Napoleon's Ryan Fleck set up the opportunity when he punted 43 yards down to the Gold's
"You always want to win and you never want to lose," said Fleck, a two-time Division II state high jump champion headed to Auburn University. "I was just happy to do my part."
The Black squad's offense came through with a couple more scores before the first half expired to give the Black team a 14-8 halftime edge.
Dottei, led the Black squad on two scoring drives in the first half.
He capped a five-play, 54-yard scoring drive for the Black team by connecting with Zeke Keesbury, of Fairview, on an eight-yard TD completion to make it 8-0 with 4:16 left in the first quarter. Montpelier's Eric Thompson was wide right on the extra-point attempt.
The Gold squad bounced back in the second quarter and tied the score at 8-8 when Ryan Ball, of St. John's Jesuit, broke through the Black squad's defensive line untouched on his way to a
29-yard touchdown run with
9:52 remaining in the second quarter.
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