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Published: Saturday, 8/22/2009

It's almost time: 4th Shoe Bowl provides a preview

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Utilizing its third venue since 2006, the fourth installation of the Old Newboys Shoe Bowl preseason charity football event brought seven local squads together Friday night at Central Catholic's Gallagher Stadium.

With a week left before the season kicks off, the coaching staffs got a chance at one last tune-up.

In the first scrimmage, the offenses ruled in Bowsher's 32-20 win over Northview.

City League member Bowsher, 4-6 a year ago, got a pair of long touchdown passes from senior quarterback Brian Shelton, the first covering 60 yards to sophomore back Jody Webb, the second a 70-yard catch-and-run by wideout Antoine Russell.

The Wildcats of the Northern Lakes League, 2-8, in 2008, drove to set up junior back Addison Hirschfeld's one-yard plunge, and Levi Jasper added field goals from 22 and 27 yards for a 13-13 tie.

A 36-yard Shelton-to-Russell hookup set up senior slot back Leonard Brown's weaving, 34-yard TD bolt for a 19-13 Bowsher lead after two quarters.

In the second half, Hirschfeld scored on a 23-yard run, and Jasper's PAT put the Wildcats ahead 20-19 in this back-and-forth battle.

But Brown answered for Bowsher, capping a 70-yard drive on a 22-yard cutback run around the left end for a 25-20 lead. Russell finished with a 70-yard interception return.

"The thing that I liked the most was that we didn't quit and we continued to fight, and we believed in each other," first-year Bowsher head coach Wondell Hills said. "But, we've definitely got a lot of work to do on defense and finishing plays.

"We worked hard in the offseason on the passing game, and we've made that the focus of our offense this season. As far as the running game, we're very inexperienced up front - three sophomores, and a senior who only played defense last year. We have a long way to go there. I feel confident they'll get it done but, for now, we're going to go with what works [the pass]."

Shelton passed for over 250 yards in the abbreviated game.

Bowsher opens at Perrysburg Friday and Northview will host Clay.

In a three-team round robin, defending Toledo Area Athletic Conference champion Northwood (9-1 in 2008) lost to Scott (2-8) 12-7 in the first two-quarter matchup.

After the teams traded fumbles, Northwood grabbed a 7-0 lead when 6-1, 237-pound junior Corey Jones bulled in from the 1 with

7:35 left in the first quarter.

Scott used a 66-yard pass from quarterback Korey Koch to Brendon Ryles on third-and-19 to set up Malcolm Daniels' four-yard TD run.

In the second quarter, Northwood's bad punt snap set Scott up 10 yards from the end zone, and Bulldog back Antonio Mitchell covered the final two yards for the winning margin.

Scott then faced Woodward (0-10 in 2008) in a game that had no scoring but five turnovers - three by the Polar Bears and two by the Bulldogs.

Capping the round-robin portion, Northwood rebounded with a 14-0 win over Woodward. Ranger QB Erik Russell capped one 70-yard drive with a six-yard run, and running back Zach Bermejo streaked 54 yards around right end to close another 70-yard trek.

Northwood plays at Lakota on Friday, Scott opens at home on Saturday against Cleveland John Marshall and, after an open week, Woodward kicks off its regular season on Sept. 4 at Maumee.

Concluding the Shoe Bowl event, Start (5-5) and St. John's (7-4), who will meet in CL play on Oct. 2, got a sneak peak at one another. The Titans won this time around 23-0.

After the Start Spartans had a 65-yard catch-and-run TD pass from Aaron Newman to Devon Price nullified by a penalty, the Titans opened the scoring on sophomore QB Kent Kern's 15-yard scoring hookup with Cheatham Norrils.

Brandon Smith's 23-yard field goal pushed the Titan lead to 10-0, and senior QB Zach Leffler added a 52-yard score on a keeper with 8:21 left in the third quarter. Freshman QB Brogan Roback hit sophomore Dexter Haynes on a nine-yard TD pass on the final play of the scrimmage.

"We did some good things tonight," Titans coach Doug Pearson said. "No question about that. Our defense came up big at times. But I was really upset with our [offensive] execution in the red zone.

"It was the perfect scrimmage for us because there were enough good things to give you promise and enough wrong that I've got something to complain about."

St. John's begins its season against Findlay at Bowling Green's Perry Stadium on Thursday, and Start travels to Fremont Ross for a Friday opener.

Contact Steve Junga at:

sjunga@theblade.com

or 419-724-6461.



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