John Bell was like a lot of the players who were chosen to play in the Miami Valley Football Coaches Association All-Stars football game on Friday night. A recent Chaminade Julienne High School graduate, this would serve as a farewell to girding himself with a helmet and shoulder pads and mixing it up.
“It’s good to end off strong,” said Bell, who accounted for the South’s touchdown in a 13-7 loss to the North. “It’s the last game I’ll ever play so it’s good to get one in.”
»RELATED: MVFCA North roster
Officials called the game after multiple lightning delays. By 10 p.m., there had just been a couple plays into the second quarter.
That didn’t seem to deter the players, coaches or fans from enjoying the 35th annual contest. The local North/South game began in 1975 and had several different names, including the Montgomery County All-Stars. Former longtime Franklin coach John Aregood, the interim coach at Fenwick last season, has been the North/South game director for 26 years.
A major fund-raiser for the MVFCA, proceeds from the game and sponsors have generated nearly $100,000 in scholarships through the years.
»RELATED: MVFCA South roster
Many area schools were represented. The North team, led by Northmont coach Tony Broering, practiced all week at Northmont and drew heavily from the Northmont coaching staff.
It was the same for the South. With CJ coach Marcus Colvin directing the South, the Eagles’ staff also played a big role as South assistants and practices were at CJ’s Roger Glass Stadium.
Some of the players, like North linebackers Jaden Jenkins (Kenton Ridge) and Deece Catanzaro (Catholic Central) will take their games to the next level. Jenkins will play at Tiffin University and Catanzaro will stay home and play at Wittenberg.
“This means a lot,” said Jenkins, who had a first-quarter interception. “I’m going off to college but this is high school. It’s Friday Night Lights and you don’t get that back.”
Bell’s eight-yard run opened the scoring and put the South up with 7:24 left in the first quarter. Then North quarterback Markell Stephens-Peppers took over.
Trotwood-Madison was 15-0 and won a Division III state championship last season. Playing an integral part to the Rams’ success was Stephens-Peppers and he showed why for the North.
His 6-yard TD run cut the South’s lead to 7-6. His 12-yard TD strike to William McDaniel, a Trotwood teammate, was the abbreviated game-winner.
The game was called soon after the third lightning delay.
“It didn’t end the way we wanted to back in the fall,” said South QB Ryan Peltier, and outstanding pitcher who was key in CJ’s drive to a D-II state baseball championship the prior weekend.
“I wanted to get back with (Bell) and my other guys and play for my coaches one more time. It feels good to throw the football around in a competitive situation. We’re playing under the lights again and it feels good.”
Peltier will attend Ball state on a baseball scholarship.
»TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton
• Programs are allowed 10 “coach contact” days from June 1 through July 30. Teams use many of those days for popular 7-on-7 passing tournaments.
The first day of preseason practice is July 31. Players must undergo five acclimation days of practice before contact.
Teams are allowed a maximum three scrimmages, or two scrimmages and a fund-raising jamboree game.
Week 1 games for most teams will be Friday, Aug. 24.