Pickerington High School North's Alex Bayer caught everybody off guard in the first quarter of the Central Ohio All-Star Game last Saturday at Upper Arlington.

Pickerington High School North's Alex Bayer caught everybody off guard in the first quarter of the Central Ohio All-Star Game last Saturday at Upper Arlington.

As the OCC All-Stars threw a screen pass to Hilliard Darby's Brandon Bargar, the secondary forgot all about Bayer, who was all by himself in the middle of the field. Bargar delivered a perfect pass and Bayer then cruised into the end zone for an 80-yard touchdown.

"I was like, 'Just take it easy Alex, don't try to do anything too much,'" said Pickerington Central's Nick Raymond, who was playing quarterback at the time. "And he did."

Bayer's touchdown gave the OCC a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and set the tone for the rest of the game. The OCC dominated, winning 31-6.

After the 80-yard score, Bayer caught only one more pass, but still finished as the game's leading receiver with 87 yards.

In splitting snaps with Bargar, Raymond went 5-for-9 passing for 54 yards. He also carried the ball for seven yards.

"It was different," Raymond said about playing with a new team. "You're used to growing up with the same people in high school, so you're with them for four years and you know everything they do. Then you have a week and you need to get everything going with some new people."

The coaches kept the play-calling fairly simple, making it easier on players to connect in the limited time frame.

After a few practices, the team had no problem finding its rhythm.

"It took a couple of days, especially for the quarterbacks and wide receivers," Raymond said. "But after we all learned the plays and how we work, then we started to click."

Other Pickerington players on the OCC roster included North's Jairus Campbell on the offensive line, and Central's Paris Wadlington at linebacker.

Wadlington was credited with three tackles.

"My last high school game, I thought I was about to cry to be honest," Wadlington said. "It was a great game."

North's Alex Bayer (18) celebrates his 80-yard touchdown reception by taking a picture of his teammates with a camera that was hidden under the goal post cushion last Saturday in the Central Ohio All-Star Game at Upper Arlington. Bayer opened the scoring in a game his OCC team won 31-6 over the Central Stars.

Central's Nick Raymond was 5-for-9 passing for 54 yards, rushed seven times for 16 yards and punted twice for a 40.5-yard average.

Central's Paris Wadlington (facing) seeks to get past Eastmoor's Ryan Wilburn (74) and Watterson's Zach Sheppard.

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 a strong game 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 28-6.


Central leads the series 5-4 since the new format was adopted in 2001.