Walnut Ridge running back Brandon Rice said the Central Ohio All-Star Game was the perfect preparatory course for playing college football.

Walnut Ridge running back Brandon Rice said the Central Ohio All-Star Game was the perfect preparatory course for playing college football.

Rice, who will play for Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., in the fall, played for the Central Stars last Saturday in the game at Upper Arlington.

He rushed for 70 yards on 16 carries and scored Central's lone touchdown in a 31-6 loss to the OCC Stars. He was voted as Central's offensive MVP.

Rice said getting to play with a lot of new players, including a few former rivals, was a great way to prepare for college.

"It's a great sendoff because you get to play with a lot of different players," said Rice who scored on a 10-yard run with 10 minutes, 54 seconds left in the game.

"I've been playing with the same team for four years and I didn't play with many of these guys. Now I'm headed down south to play with a bunch of guys I've never met. This was a great experience to send me into that week."

The Central Stars were comprised of players primarily from the City League, Central Catholic League and Mid-State League. However, Walnut Ridge produced both the offensive and defensive MVPs. Linebacker Lamar Ross, who finished with 12 tackles, picked up the other honor.

Rice, who had back-to-back seasons of 2,000-plus yards rushing for Walnut Ridge, said Central had a hard time getting started against the OCC. Central rushed for 168 yards on 39 carries but committed six turnovers (four interceptions and two fumbles).

Rice said he was proud of how his team stuck together.

"We started the game off strong, but in the middle of the game we went to sleep a little bit," Rice said.

"But we stepped up and finished the game strong.

"Being named the offensive MVP is an honor. You're playing with a lot of great players. (Independence's Jordan Ross, who finished 55 yards on four carries) had a lot of good runs but I felt like I got the MVP for how I played rather than for the yardage or the touchdown. I played hard all four quarters and I didn't give up."