Tails never fails.
Tails never fails.
That was the phrase that Hilliard Darby High School quarterback Brandon Bargar used to fuel his strategy when he guessed at a coin-flip in the days leading up to the Central Ohio All-Star Game last Saturday at Upper Arlington.
Bargar, who led Darby last season with an effective blend of running and passing, was one of two potential starting quarterbacks for the OCC All-Star team, which downed the Central All-Stars 31-6. Either Pickerington Central quarterback Nick Raymond or Bargar could have been the starter for the team, which was comprised solely of players from the Ohio Capital Conference. OCC coach Scott Gordon agreed that a coin-flip should decide the starter.
Bargar called tails and it came up heads.
As the loser of the coin-flip, Bargar started at wide receiver against a Central team made up of players from the CCL, City and MSL leagues.
With the game scoreless in the first quarter, the OCC drew first blood when Raymond threw a lateral to Bargar at receiver. Bargar then launched the ball to Pickerington North tight end Alex Bayer, who was left alone by the defense, for an 80-yard touchdown. The play produced the game's first points with 1 minute, 59 seconds left in the quarter.
"It could have been Nick (throwing that pass)," said Bargar, who also considered returning kicks. "I knew that whoever didn't start was going to get the reverse pass."
Bargar factored heavily in the game plan and was offensive MVP for the OCC. He completed five of eight passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed twice for 12 yards and had a 6-yard catch.
"We had two quarterbacks that were great players," Gordon said. "We said we were going to run that double-pass in the first two series. We had a chance to and (Bayer) was all alone out there."
Raymond also had a productive day. He was 5-for-9 passing for 54 yards and also rushed seven times for 16 yards and punted twice for a 40.5-yard average.
The Central Stars had one quarterback on the roster in Walnut Ridge's Alvin Busbee, although Eastmoor Academy's Alex Coleman also lined up under center. The Central had trouble mounting an aerial attack and finished the first half with 1 yard passing.
Central's main attack was Walnut Ridge running back Brandon Rice, who rushed 16 times for 72 yards to earn his team's offensive MVP.
Central's strategy was to use Rice in the power running game inside and Busbee on speed runs to the outside, but for most of the game the OCC defense was ready for it. Busbee finished with 52 yards rushing, including a 20-yard run in the first quarter, on seven attempts. He also completed six of 10 passes for 19 yards.
"We didn't spread them out much," Busbee said. "They did a good job of spreading us out. We kept it tight most of the time and it made it easier for them to stay at home. They weren't really going for any of the fakes."
Thomas Worthington's Michael Brankamp was the OCC defensive MVP with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery. The announcement drew ire from the OCC team. Anthony Finissi, a defensive back from Upper Arlington, intercepted his third pass of the game in the final seconds.
Also having strong games for the OCC was UA running back Isaac Wildermuth, who rushed nine times for 81 yards, including a 49-yard run in the third quarter in which he was tackled at the 1-yard line. He scored on the next play to help make it 21-0 with 5:30 left in the third quarter.
Olentangy Liberty's Allen Eggleston scored on 2-yard run with 9:40 left in the second quarter. Gahanna's Brandon Magbagbeola, who led the OCC in receiving with 48 yards on three catches, scored on a 23-yard touchdown reception with 2:40 left in the third quarter to make it 28-0.
Olentangy's Ryan DiSabato kicked a 37-yard field goal with 8:19 remaining to go to end the scoring.
Central scored its lone points on a 10-yard touchdown run by Rice early in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score at 28-6. Jordan Ross, who played for Independence, also had 55 yards rushing on four attempts for the Central, which was coached by Allan Jones of Independence.
Central leads the series 5-4 since the new format was adopted in 2001.