The last time Pickerington High School North quarterback Jimmy Weirick was on the same football field as Gahanna wide receiver Jerome Buckner, the former threw for four touchdowns and the Panthers limited the latter to no catches during their regular-season win last fall.
Weirick and Buckner proved to be more than comfortable as teammates for the South all-stars in the Ohio North-South Classic on April 28 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, hooking up for touchdown passes of 72 and 35 yards in the Divisions I-III game.
Buckner finished with six receptions for 164 yards to earn Offensive MVP honors, while Olentangy defensive lineman Jacob Slade garnered the Defensive MVP award in the South’s 20-18 loss.
“Buckner had two touchdowns, and the wide receiver from Teays Valley, Adjrain Settler, had a touchdown,” said Walnut Ridge coach Byron Mattox, who was one of the assistants for the South all-stars. “Jimmy Weirick threw three touchdowns, so those three guys all did a real good job.”
Mattox, who guided the Scots to a Division II playoff berth last season, had two of his own players, offensive lineman Nymonta Doucoure and linebacker Justin Vance, play for the South.
Slade is a Michigan State commit.
“It means a lot to me to receive the (MVP) award because I know I’m among a lot of great athletes in that game and there were a lot of other people equally as deserving,” Slade said. “The game was special to me mostly because it was my last high school-level game that I’ll ever play, but also because I was surrounded by a lot of great guys and had a lot of fun.”
According to Mattox, Slade and Vance were joined as defensive standouts by Olentangy Orange’s Jayden Rodgers (DB), Pickerington North’s Tyler Potts (DB) and Alex Williams (DL) and Dublin Coffman’s Jeslord Boateng (LB/DL) and Luke Crabtree (LB).
“It was great,” Mattox said. “The hospitality was great and it was one of the biggest professional development opportunities I could have as a coach just being able to talk to great coaches from around the state. Plus, there was the banquet and a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Justin Buttermore, who recently was named coach at Granville after leading Dresden Tri-Valley to a Division III state runner-up finish last fall, was head coach for the South.
Omameh stands out in small-school game
The South all-stars beat the North 42-20 in the Divisions IV-VII game April 28 as Ready defensive lineman Charles Omameh was named Defensive MVP.
Omameh was a late addition to the game, which also included Ready’s Ryan Wood (LB), Grandview’s James Lachey (TE) and Brandon Spaulding (DL) and Harvest Prep’s Daniel Bangura (RB), Savon Mitchell (WR) and Isaiah Mullens (DL).
“Being named defensive MVP of such a prestigious game like this was a terrific honor,” Omameh said. “We as teammates had that vibe that we all carried through, which ultimately gave us that edge for the victory. … This is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Bangura rushed for 25 yards and two touchdowns and also had two receptions.
Grandview coach Jason Peters served as an assistant for the South all-stars for the second time in three years.
“Bangura probably carried the ball more than anybody else did and he did a great job,” Peters said. “Savon Mitchell had a huge catch to pick up a first down and Isaiah Mullens had a huge sack. Lachey had three catches, Brandon Spaulding had a sack and a couple tackles and Ryan Wood from Ready was solid in the middle. It was pretty awesome.
“The cool thing is that we had five practices and you had kids coming from all walks of life to play together. There was a kid who was a pig farmer, and it was awesome to see those kids interacting with the players on my team.”