Ohio has a chance to win its second in a row.
By JOHN BUTERA
BEAVER FALLS, Pa. -- Two guys named Phillips are readying their teams for the 22nd Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic.
While Pennsylvania holds a 15-6 edge in the series, the Buckeyes will be going for their second straight win, having won last year's game 25-18. Thursday night's contest, at Reeves Stadium at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., will kick off at 8 p.m.
Doug Phillips, who recently left Springfield High to become the coach at Salem, will lead the Ohio team, while Don Phillips is the coach for Pa. Don Phillips is the coach at Center High.
Both coaches are coming off outstanding seasons; Springfield went 12-1 and Center finished 10-2. Both are hoping to carry that winning attitude into the all-star game.
"It's very important to win," said Don Phillips, "but everyone will play. As a staff we want to make sure each kid plays and has a positive experience. But, yes. We want to win the football game." This will be his second turn as a coach in the game.
Doug Phillips said, "It's great to have fun but we've got to get ready for a battle. We're in this to represent Ohio and we're here to win.
"For the kids it's a great thing to play with the guys they've been going against. And for me, well let's just say I'd rather be coaching [Poland's] Peter Perry than trying to defend him."
Final time: Another special treat for Doug Phillips will be the chance to coach six of his former players for the final time.
"That's always special," he said, "and that's why they wanted to play. It will make the game even more memorable."
Isaac Smolko, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end who will attend Penn State, heads the list of six Springfield players. He'll be joined by Jim Schuler (6-3, 190 punter), Ben Haug (6-2, 170 wide receiver), Bob Zitkovic (6-0, 170 defensive back), Ken McIntyer (5-9, 210 defensive tackle) and Marty Timlin (5-11, 260 center).
"That's the main reason I wanted to do this," Smolko said of his decision to play. "It will be fun to be with my teammates and Coach Phillips."
Smolko said that he has no worries about an injury.
"I think this will be an all-out physical game," he said.
Besides Perry, a 5-10, 170 running back, Poland will be represented by Dean Coutris, a 6-2, 255-pound guard, and Dave Schumer, a 6-4, 225 tight end.
Players from the Tri-County League are Tom Bernet of United, Scott Kyser of Leetonia, Robert Davis of Lisbon, Mike Clemmer of Crestview, Matt Brown of Southern Local, Joe Pavlich of East Palestine and Drew Crider and Kris Reash of Columbiana.
Other Ohioans include Matt Rycraft and Dave Griswold of West Branch, Jamie Olmstead and Tyler Everett of Beaver Local, Salem's Zach Stevenson, Jeremy Barrek of Western Reserve, Phil Schuback of South Range, East Liverpool's Jason Ludwig and Anthony Catalo of Wellsville.
"The rules favor the offense," said Don Phillips. "But in a game like this, that makes it easier to teach the kids. There are some good restrictions built in so you can have a quality game."
Among the special rules for this game are no on-side kicks and no fake punts.