Kyeremeh, Grassman lead Ohio to Big 33 win
En route to a fourth consecutive win in the Big 33 Football Classic, the Ohio all-stars intercepted six passes from Pennsylvania quarterbacks Skyler Mornhinweg and Blake Rankin on June 16 in Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa.
None was bigger than the final one by Thomas Worthington High School graduate Nana Kyeremeh.
In the 55th edition of the all-star game, Ohio edged Pennsylvania 24-21 as Gahanna graduate Tyler Grassman kicked a 39-yard field goal in overtime.
On the next play, Kyeremeh intercepted a pass from Mornhinweg, a University of Florida recruit.
"We were down 14-0 at the half, but we ended up getting (six) picks," said Kyeremeh, who also had a first-half interception. "(Mornhinweg) tried to throw it to the slot guy (on the interception in overtime) and I just jumped up and picked it. It was a really nice experience and I'm glad I was able to play in it."
Kyeremeh, who starts classes July 2 at West Virginia, was one of seven players from central Ohio invited to play in the game.
Upper Arlington's Frank Epitropoulos, an Ohio State recruit, has been battling a hamstring injury and did not play. Marion-Franklin's Terrell Jackson didn't play because he's already enrolled at Pittsburgh.
DeSales' Warren Ball, who also will play for Ohio State, rushed 13 times for 41 yards. Watkins Memorial's Reno Reda (Kent State) and Upper Arlington's James Henry (Toledo) also played in the game.
Lima Central Catholic quarterback Tyler O'Connor threw an 85-yard touchdown pass to Steubenville's Najee Murray and rushed for a touchdown to earn Most Valuable Player honors for Ohio.
Grassman, who leaves July 1 to enroll at Buffalo, was responsible for all of Ohio's kicking duties. He missed a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter but went on to make three extra points.
Then in overtime, his field goal proved to be the winning points.
It was part of a memorable week for Grassman, who called the experience "life-changing."
Ohio players traveled to Hershey early in the week and stayed with host families. Each player also was teamed with a "buddy" with special needs throughout the week.
"It was awesome because I've never been fortunate enough to have a chance to make a game-winning field goal in overtime, so it was pretty neat," Grassman said. "The place was rocking. The stands were full and it seats sometime like 30,000.
"It was an unbelievable time. You meet a lot of people who are going to Ohio State and other big-time colleges. Staying with a host family, you get to learn about yourself. You get assigned to a buddy, and my buddy had a blast. It was cool to be able to give back."
East edges West in Cap City Senior Bowl
Overtime in the fifth annual Cap City Senior Bowl provided an opportunity for retribution for Pickerington North graduate TaBeal Radney.
Radney, who early in the game dropped an interception and later had an extra point blocked, intercepted a pass from Grandview quarterback Oliver Rouch of the West all-stars in overtime and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown to give the East a 19-13 victory June 16 at Reynoldsburg.
The Akron recruit also punted and made an extra point as he earned the team's defensive MVP award.
"They were trying to run a bubble (screen) over the top to (Columbus West's) Fred Lee, but the ball went in front of me," Radney said. "I had a chance at an interception earlier in the game, but (Lee) actually got it from me."
The East took a 7-0 first-quarter lead when Groveport quarterback Shane Denny hit Africentric's Tyronne Browning for a 65-yard touchdown.
Ready kicker John Wright of the West then made field goals of 22 yards in the first and 29 in the second to make it 7-6.
In the third, the East made it 13-6 when Walnut Ridge quarterback Fred Hardgrove hit Westerville Central's Max Shawver for a 27-yard touchdown. Radney's extra-point try was blocked by DeSales' R.J. Ball.
With three minutes remaining in regulation, the West tied it on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Brookhaven's Tajuan Green to Lee.
The West had a chance to win it during the final minute of regulation. Wright was about to attempt a 42-yard field goal when the East was whistled for offsides, giving the West an automatic first down with 19 seconds left.
On the next play, Wright attempted a 37-yard field goal that was blocked, but the East was penalized for having 12 players on the field. Wright then lined up for a third attempt but missed wide left.
That set up the opportunity for Radney in overtime.
"It was pretty much a defensive battle," said Mifflin assistant Glenn Blue, who coached one of the teams in the inaugural Cap City Senior Bowl and led the East all-stars. "You only get a week of practice and you can't blitz, so some of the rules make it hard, but it's a good overall experience. It was a great time for the kids."
According to game organizer Anthony Murphy, there were about 2,500 in attendance.
Browning was named the offensive MVP for the East and Lee was selected the offensive MVP for the West. Beechcroft's Shaquille Minnifield had a first-quarter interception and earned MVP honors on defense for the West.
Others East players who impressed included Westerville South's Jarrod Barnes (DB), Westerville Central's Cody Kondas (LB) and Groveport's Melvin Smith (RB), Blue said.
The West was coached by Beechcroft's Bruce Ward.
"Obviously we had three cracks at a field goal, and then it went into overtime and we threw the pick," Ward said. "It's obviously easier to get a defense ready than an offense, but it was a good game. I think it was just a bad read (by Rouch on the interception in overtime).
"Fred Lee was impressive. He plays in the (City League-South Division), but I'd heard a lot about him and then you see him and he's only about (5-foot-5). He's a real football player. We had a great center from Upper Arlington, Spencer Luallen, who was just a joy to be around. His presence helped our offensive line."