With some of the area's top offensive leaders from last football season on the field for the 19th annual NWO regional all-star football game held Friday night at Whitmer High, all seemed right for an old-fashioned offensive shootout.
Exactly the opposite materialized in the mid-summer football matchup presented by the Perrysburg athletic boosters.
Defense ruled as the Gold squad blanked the Black squad 7-0 before approximately 1,000 fans in attendance.
The Gold squad's offense produced the only score of the night when Springfield graduate Eric Page led the unit on a scoring drive on the first possession of the second half.
Page, the Blade's 2008 player of the year, rolled right out of the pocket and lobbed a pass into the end zone to Bowling Green graduate Adam Crawford, who reached high and hauled in the pass for a 14-yard touchdown completion with 8:12 left to play in the third quarter.
Findlay's Skylar Roberts booted the extra point to give the Gold a seven-point cushion that held the rest of the way.
"I just saw him moving my way, and I just wanted to get open," said Crawford.
Page, who has already begun workouts at the University of Toledo, provided the Gold team with a few big plays with his arm and feet like he often did last fall for the Blue Devils.
However, outside of the one scoring drive, the Black team's defense didn't allow Page and the rest of the Gold team's attack to run completely wild and loose. He credited both teams' defenses, especially his own, for dictating how the game was played.
"Our defense stepped up a lot and really all the credit goes to them," Page said.
The Gold's defense held in check the Black's offense, which starred Southview graduates quarterback Alex Pidcock and wide receiver Shaun Joplin, who played prominent roles in the Cougars winning the 2008 Division II state championship.
The Gold's defensive work included a goal-line stand at the end of the second quarter. With the Black team at the Gold 2-yard-line, Woodward's Antonio Lampkin tackled Pidcock for a three-yard loss on a fourth-and-goal play with 2:15 left in the first half to stop the best scoring opportunity for the Black team.
"I knew what the snap-count was because they were talking loud in the huddle, so I jumped on it," Lampkin said. "We had fun."
"It was a tough game, and I was disappointed we didn't get the win," said Northwood graduate Charles Artino, an offensive lineman on the Black squad.
Pidcock and Joplin, who are headed to Bowling Green State University, connected several times. However, the Cougars' air attack never found a way to reach the end zone.
"I think our defense stepped up tremendously, and our offense made plays when we needed them," said Perrysburg's Brandon Butler, who played linebacker and was part of a swarming Gold squad defense that put pressure on the Black team's quarterbacks.
The game was played for the second year in a row at Whitmer due to ongoing improvement projects taking place the last three summers at Perrysburg's home field, Steinecker Stadium. The game was held at Springfield High in 2007. The contest is expected to return to Perrysburg next summer. Proceeds from the contest are used to support Perrysburg High athletics. The event has previously raised an average of $6,000.
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