Whetstone High School senior Nate Gaines wasn't exactly sure what he was getting into when he agreed to try out for the inaugural Columbus City League club boys lacrosse team this spring.

Whetstone High School senior Nate Gaines wasn't exactly sure what he was getting into when he agreed to try out for the inaugural Columbus City League club boys lacrosse team this spring.

He was at the house of his first cousin, Brookhaven senior Ishmael McKinney, and McKinney was forcing him to watch the sport he had played extensively while living in Baltimore.

From what Gaines could tell, there was hitting involved - and that itself was enough to sell him on lacrosse.

The Columbus City Schools team, also known as CCS, is a combination of athletes mostly from Brookhaven and Whetstone, though Centennial, Horizon Science Academy, the Graham School and Columbus Academy also are represented.

"I'm doing it to stay in shape for football and basketball, which I'll play in college," said Gaines, who plans to attend Muskingum College. "I'm pretty athletic, so most of it comes pretty easily. I think it was about February when I picked up a stick for the first time."

McKinney was born in Ohio but lived in Maryland from the time he was a toddler through his sophomore year. He moved to Columbus before his junior year.

McKinney and junior D'Angelo Cousar, a Horizon Science student who played for Olentangy Liberty as a freshman, are the only players on the roster with previous lacrosse experience.

"We've got a lot of people who are picking up the game real fast," McKinney said. "It's good because it's helping us to get to know a lot of different people. I didn't even know what lacrosse was until my freshman year when I was living in Baltimore, but it's even bigger than baseball over there. You can drive around the city and see people playing all the time."

CCS, whose nickname is the Terps, played its first game against a varsity team last Friday, losing to Watterson 20-0. It then lost to Big Walnut 15-3 last Saturday.

CCS opened with a 16-3 loss to Gahanna's junior varsity on April 2 and fell to Olentangy Orange's j.v. 6-0 on April 14 before posting its first win by defeating Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep's j.v. 12-4 on April 17.

Against Cathedral Prep, eight of the goals were assisted. Columbus Academy freshman Hart Wise and Brookhaven sophomore Justin Stanhope each scored three goals and McKinney and Brookhaven sophomore Wess Green both scored two.

CCS plays Friday at Johns-town and Saturday at home against Marysville.

Big Walnut, Delaware and Marysville are the other three central Ohio teams competing in the Club Division, which features 23 teams throughout the state.

Coach Michael Kinney, a Gahanna graduate who was an assistant at Dublin Scioto from 1996-2000, came up with the idea of creating the team last summer after stepping down as coach at Westerville South.

He has been pleased with the development of several of his players, including junior goalkeeper Brian Tran (Whetstone) and senior midfielder Brandon Henderson (Brookhaven).

"Honestly, they've been working so hard to beat any team that it was a great feeling (beating Cathedral Prep), which is in its third year as a program," Kinney said. "We have a very structured offense and a very structured defense.

"We've got a lot of kids who are athletic, but we've got two or three kids who have never played a sport in their entire life who just wanted to try it. (Gaines) had never picked up a lacrosse stick but is so good at basketball, so we're trying to use terms from other sports that they're familiar with, and that's really helped."

•REED WINS MVP - Verlon Reed got what he hopes was an indicator of future success inside Ohio Stadium last Friday.

The Marion-Franklin senior, who signed to play football for Ohio State in February, earned MVP honors while leading the South team to a 23-20 victory in the North-South All-Star Classic.

Reed completed just one of seven passes for 10 yards with one interception but rushed for 45 yards, including a 37-yard third-quarter touchdown run that gave his team a 23-12 lead.

"(Winning the MVP) feels great," said Reed, who was the only City League player among a roster that included nine other players from central Ohio. "It's a true ending to the story. You want to do good in front of your home crowd. It's a big bonus. I was not expecting it.

"I didn't expect to get the MVP (from the touchdown run), but whatever comes my way, I'll take whatever I get. It was a designed draw, but I had to make sure I was patient on it."

•OWUSU-ANSAH DRAFTED - Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, a 2006 Whetstone graduate, was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the NFL draft last Saturday.

The 6-foot, 207-pounder drew rave reviews after his pre-draft pro day in Ohio, where he ran 40 yards in 4.41 seconds and lifted 225 pounds 21 times.

Owusu-Ansah scored nine touchdowns on returns of punts, kickoffs, a fumble recovery and an interception during his college career, and averaged 29.7 yards on kickoff returns as a senior last fall.

The only knock on his college resume was that Owusu-Ansah played for Division II Indiana (Pa.) College. He is the seventh player from that program to be selected in the NFL draft.

Owusu-Ansah first caught the eyes of scouts as a junior when he intercepted eight passes, including seven over the final four games.

The Crimson Hawks finished with a 5-6 record last year.