Michael Brankamp, a 2009 Thomas Worthington High School graduate, concluded his prep football career with an award-winning performance.

Michael Brankamp, a 2009 Thomas Worthington High School graduate, concluded his prep football career with an award-winning performance.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker led the OCC team with 11 tackles and recovered a fumble in the Central Ohio All-Star Football Game last Saturday at Upper Arlington and was named the OCC's defensive MVP.

"It feels great; it's an awesome feeling," Brankamp said. "But I think our entire defense was the MVP. I mean, our defense really stepped it up and each guy did his job perfectly. Everybody was good on our defense. It really was an all-star defense."

The OCC limited the Central team to 187 total yards, including just 31 in the first half, and forced six turnovers.

"We came out looking for a battle," said Brankamp, who made first-team all-OCC-Central Division and special mention all-district last season as Thomas finished 2-8.

"We knew they would be a tough team. I just think we took control and did what we needed to do."

With the OCC leading 28-6 early in the fourth quarter, Brankamp recovered a fumble by Walnut Ridge's Brandon Rice at the Central 13-yard line. Four plays later, Olentangy's Ryan DiSabato kicked a 37-yard field goal to close the scoring.

Brankamp, who will continue his career at Ohio Dominican, a NAIA school, was one of two Thomas players on the OCC roster, with 6-1, 245-pound offensive lineman Brandon Rhodes being the other.

Worthington Kilbourne, which finished 9-3 last season, losing to Hilliard Davidson 21-7 in a Division I regional semifinal, was not represented in the game.

"We spend all year playing against each other, and it's an awesome thing to be able to play with the enemy, almost," Brankamp said when asked about being teammates with players from other OCC schools. "We really jelled as a team and became good friends."

The OCC was coached by Cardinals coach Scott Gordon and his staff, giving Brankamp and Rhodes one more opportunity to play for their high school coach.

"I love coach Gordon," Brankamp said. "He's one of the best coaches I've ever had and he knows the game of football and he loves it and he really cares about each of his players, and that makes them want to play for him."