By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN - Youngstown State senior football players took about as much time to select the rosters for the annual Red and White Spring Game as the San Francisco 49ers spent selecting Alex Smith in the first round of the NFL Draft.
In a little over 15 minutes, the seniors, who had been placed on each team by the YSU coaching staff, went through the rest of the roster dividing up the squad into two pretty competitive teams for Friday night's classic at Stambaugh Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
For the third year in a row a defensive player was the No. 1 pick of the draft, and it wasn't Brandon Brown, the No. 1 pick each of the last two years.
This time junior defensive back Jason Perry won the honor for the Red team.
The White team, which has the now senior Brown as a member, used their first pick to select junior fullback Demetrius Ison.
Friday's contest will be the 33rd annual spring game for the Penguins. The White team holds the overall edge 20-12, however the Red team has won the last two contests, including a 17-7 victory a year ago.
The game will be played in two 35-minute continuous clock halves with a five-minute overtime period. The final three minutes of the game will follow normal clock procedures. The clock may also stop when officials deem necessary, such as injuries or timeouts. The 25-second clock will be in effect and all special teams units will be utilized.
The 21 seniors on the team were divided among the two teams with 10 on each team, while senior long snapper Tanner Dunlap will play on both units.
The White team seniors are led by offensive linemen Tony Limongi and John Bartos along with tight end Shawn Carlson, wide receivers Jameson Evans and Damien Wright and quarterback Aaron Marshall.
Seniors on defense for the White include Brown, nose tackle Jamal Lee, linebacker Mike Andrews and safety Brian Wisecarver.
The Red team seniors were led by wide receiver Kyle Smith, center Coby Hayslett, tight end Brian Radakovich and fullback Nick Forro on offense, while the defensive seniors are end Joe Juby, tackle Chris Rice and linebacker Justin Scholes along with safety Aaron Scales. Tailback Josh Cayson, who is injured, is also on the Red team.
The Red may have the advantage in the skilled positions led by sophomore quarterback Tom Zetts and junior tailback Monquantae Gibson and Smith, while they also have the top defensive backs in junior Perry, Scales, sophomore Dorian Chenault and junior Justin Reams along with linebackers Marty Hutchinson and James Terry.
The White team looks to have the advantage in the trenches with Limongi, Bartos, and Jewell all starters on offense, along with Brown, freshman Mychal Savage and Greg Jacobs on the defensive front.
The White also has two starting linebackers in Andrews and sophomore Jeff Koval along with newcomer Maurice Smith-Davis.
YSU junior punter Joe Bishop was selected by the Red team and redshirt freshman kicker Brian Palmer went to the White team.
"We went heavy on defensive backs because we heard there were going to be a lot of passes in the game," said Red team leader Smith.
"This should be a fun time for everybody," he said. "All spring it's been the defense against the offense, now we have a chance to team up and get together."
YSU head coach Jon Heacock was pleased overall with the selection process.
"These guys have done a great job this spring, it's been an enjoyable spring," he said. "Now it's time for them to have a little fun and that's what the Red and White spring game is all about."
The Penguins will hold a light workout today at 3 p.m., spending most of the time working within their own Red and White teams.