Mahoning, Columbiana blank Trumbull, 24-0

Struthers’ Alec Gryzb earns Game MVP after 65-yard catch-and-run touchdown

Staff photo / Neel Madhavan Struthers’ Alec Gryzb runs for a gain during the Jack Arvin Football Classic on Thursday at Canfield’s Bob Dove Field. Grzyb earned MVP honors in the 24-0 win.

CANFIELD — Mahoning County is back on top of high school football in the Valley.

After Trumbull County won the annual Jack Arvin Classic last year, Mahoning got its revenge in the 37th edition of the all-star game on Thursday night at Canfield High School.

Behind three turnovers forced by its defense, Mahoning shut out Trumbull 24-0.

“Our defense played really, really well,” said Mahoning and Ursuline head coach Dan Reardon. “We got some takeaways in big situations. To get a shutout though, that’s rare in these games. So I thought those guys did a really good job.”

Each turnover proved timely, killing any momentum Trumbull tried to generate as it tried to climb back into the game.

The first was a fumble recovery in the second quarter that led to Mahoning’s second touchdown of the game.

The other two turnovers were interceptions that came with Trumbull driving deep into opposing territory. Austintown Fitch’s Christian Latone had the first pick in the third quarter, while Jackson-Milton’s Owen McDevitt had the second interception right at the Trumbull County goal line.

“It just takes momentum away from you,” said Trumbull and Champion head coach Tom Conrad. “First half, we’re driving, and we pop a jet sweep. But we gave them the ball with a short field. We actually played great defense after that and they didn’t score any points. But it takes it away from you. We had a couple penalties. We’re calling our system and just a little out of our element a little bit. We struggled to get plays in and with personnel groupings. That’s all part of it, but turnovers and penalties, that’s what was really the difference.”

After McDevitt’s interception, Mahoning drove right down the field 99 yards, putting the game away with a 65-yard catch-and-run by Struthers’ Alec Gryzb.

“We were running it in practice and I felt like the line was coming through and we were able to pick up some big blocks,” Gryzb said. “When I got the ball, I saw my line take out the corner and I was just off to the races from there.”

Gryzb was named the game’s MVP on the field afterwards. He had a deep catch on a jump ball pass in the first half, had several carries for chunk yards at quarterback and then topped things off with the long touchdown.

“It feels great,” Gryzb said of earning MVP honors. “To represent your city, it feels great to do that.”

Mahoning’s first two touchdowns came in the first half on short carries from Fitch’s Jamell James.

James opened the scoring from seven yards out in the first quarter and then punched it in on the goalline in the second quarter to help Mahoning capitalize on the first Trumbull turnover.

The Jack Arvin Classic is played annually in memory of long-time football and track coach Jack Arvin, who served on the Mahoning Valley Coaches Association executive board for many years. Arvin coached football for almost 40 years and was a proponent of good sportsmanship and fair play.

“Just had a lot of fun coaching these guys over the past three weeks and they’re all really good football players obviously,” Reardon said. “It’s fun to coach guys that you coach against all year and you get to know what their personalities are and all those things, so it was a lot of fun.”

Despite all the practices, the lead-up to the game and the on-field plays, the Jack Arvin Classic is ultimately a celebration of some of the best football talent the Mahoning Valley has to offer.

“The Trumbull County all stars, we really saw them come together,” Conrad said. “They’re a great group of kids that are fun to be around and fun to coach. They gave a lot of effort throughout these last three weeks and we just had a lot of fun. That’s what this is all about. It’s really a celebration of all their individual and team accolades going through last fall. So it’s nice to get all these kids together and just get out and play a little football.”


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