Pennsylvania wins Stateline Classic
By Jon Moffett
At first glance, you’d never think Collin Gilbert had just been beaten, both physically and on the scoreboard, as badly as he and his teammates had.
Bumps, bruises and a little blood couldn’t keep his natural smile from coming through. Gilbert and his Ohio squad had been defeated 24-7 in the 35th annual Penn-Ohio All-Star game at Springfield High. But even though the game didn’t count, good luck telling him it didn’t mean anything.
“We still got to play football on Friday night under the lights,” said the graduated Crestview quarterback. “I know it’s an all-star game and it’s mostly fun, but it’s still competitive.”
More importantly, as bad as their bodies hurt, the Ohio players’ pride was intact. The scoreboard showed a lopsided game (and a 25-10 overall record in the series shows a Pennsylvania dominance) but the crowds showed only support for the exiting seniors on both sides.
“These are all great guys,” said Ohio tailback Billy Goodall, previously of South Range. “We really bonded during these two weeks of practice. It’s been a lot of fun.”
What looked to have fans jumping out of their seats to avoid a runaway train of a game actually kept them just on the edges. A dismal first half had Ohio reeling.
The visitors turned the ball over three times in their first three series and gave Ohio a fighting chance. But the victors acted as the aggressor of a heavyweight title fight, and the body blows eventually caught up to the underdog home squad. Ohio wasn’t able to cash in on the handful of gifts.
An inspired Ohio team came out in the third quarter and led a drive behind the arm of Poland graduate Jacob Wolfe. The former Bulldog hooked up with tight end Josh McDade in the end zone to bring Ohio within a single score.
“We didn’t really make any big changes [to our gameplan] in the second half,” Goodall said. “We just held our blocks a little longer and the holes opened up a little better. We were able to move the ball a little bit better.”
But after a touchdown reception by Pennsylvania’s Craig Thompson extended the Keystone lead, things unraveled for Ohio. Wolfe injured his left knee on a gadget play that netted Ohio 27 yards and that essentially sealed the game. Wolfe, who left with 8:06 left in the game, had gone 5-of-5 on his pass plays in the second half.
He finished with 63 yards on 6-of-10 passing with the score.
Pennsylvania added another touchdown in the hands of Thompson, his third of the night, to send the fans to the exits.
Wolfe was named game MVP for Ohio while Thompson earned the honors for the Pennsylvania squad.