Plenty of soon-to-be college players will be on display Thursday night in the 43rd Southwestern Ohio Football Coaches Association Ron Woyan East-West All-Star Game at Kings High School.
Nathaneel Rudd will be an exception.
The recent Franklin High School graduate has decided to focus on a nursing degree at Miami University Middletown, so he’ll be suiting up for the last time at the all-star event.
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“I don’t think I’ll be as emotional as when we lost (to New Richmond in the Division III playoffs last November), but it’ll probably be pretty sad,” Rudd said Monday after a practice session at Moeller. “I’m just taking every moment in, every drive down here. It’s very, very humbling.
“I’m really just honored and blessed. I give all the credit to God. Without Him, I couldn’t do anything out there.”
Rudd will play for an East squad that leads the series 24-18 and has won 10 of the last 11 meetings.
Of course, there is some good-natured trash talking on both sides. Rudd said the East players constantly talk about the recent dominance.
“They keep on saying, ‘Let’s keep the streak alive,’ and I believe we will,” said Rudd, a 6-foot, 230-pound center. “Let’s just say we’ve got it in the bag already.”
Bethel-Tate’s Jeff Essig is the head coach for the East. He was the offensive coordinator in a 40-20 win in 2015.
“We’re out here practicing and working hard, so you know our guys want to win,” Essig said. “I’ve heard the West has a pretty good team. There’s always that East-West rivalry in this game. We’re just hoping for a good contest and that everybody has fun and competes at a high level.
“You get to see all different teams, all different kids, all different divisions come together for a game like this. And you see that they’re not really that different.”
The West viewpoint can be summed up like this: Enough is enough.
PAST JOURNAL-NEWS COVERAGE
» 2017: East 23, West 7
» 2016: East 21, West 12
» 2015: East 40, West 20
» 2014: West 63, East 43
“We’re clicking really well, so right now it’s just finding that chemistry, and then we’re going to go out and destroy them,” Edgewood’s Deric McIntyre said after Tuesday’s West practice at Woodward. “It’s kind of like a chip on our shoulder. Even though none of us have played in it, we’re all on the same page. This is our year.”
Woodward’s Kali Jones is the West head coach. He loves the lineup of athletes he’s going to put on the field Thursday, noting that Middletown’s Ross Baker will run the offense.
“They’re supposed to talk confidently. I would be disappointed if they didn’t,” Jones said of the East. “I have not heard about what they have on the East side, nor do I care. I think we’re going to beat them pretty soundly, to be honest with you. We’ve got good pieces to do some dynamic stuff.
“Our practices have been extremely organized, I’ve got a great coaching staff, and we’re trying to have fun. That’s the big thing with the seniors that are getting ready to leave. You still want to keep them engaged wanting to come to practice, so we’ve had the music up a little bit. We want to keep the blood moving.”
The West roster will include nine other local players: Gabe Mathews, Jason Smith and Dillon Stone of Hamilton; Kegen Rogers and Chase Luckett of Badin; Ethan Minges, T.J. Vicars and Joe Valentine of Ross; and Tim Roberts of Talawanda. Jake Stewart of Ross, Jon Stewart of Badin and Baker are assistant coaches.
Locals on the East roster include Dylan Fry of Lakota East and Zack Ball of Lebanon.
Rudd said he’s made a lot of new friends preparing for this game.
“It’s a little different than back at Franklin,” he said. “I’ve played with the same kids since like pee-wee, and just meeting everyone new is kind of crazy.”
The rules are set up to make this a lot of one-on-one football. Defensively, both teams have to play a “50” and use man coverage. On offense, at least one back in the backfield is required.
“This game is made for offense,” Essig said. “The whole thing is beat the guy in front of you, so it’s athlete vs. athlete, which is great. I think our team is chock-full of athletes at every position, and not just the skilled positions. I think we have pretty good offensive and defensive linemen that are going to do some things.”
The East quarterbacks are Blake King of Milford, Seth Becker of Bethel-Tate and Luke Wiederhold of Fayetteville. Fry was a quarterback for Lakota East, but will play wide receiver Thursday.
“He’s a competitor,” Essig said of Fry. “We’ve had so many quarterbacks that some of those guys are going to play different positions than they did in their career. We were able to do that in 2015 with a guy by the name of KeShawn Foley. He was a quarterback for Batavia and ended up wanting to be singled up as a wide receiver, and he had a huge game.”
Quarterbacking the West will be Tim Williams of Aiken, Alex Schaefer of Clark Montessori and Javontay Barr of North College Hill.
“They all have different dynamics,” Jones said. “We’re going to have some fun with them. At some point, you’re not going to know who’s at quarterback.”
McIntyre, who will play college ball at Wittenberg, wants the West defense to shine a bit as well. He was a defensive tackle for Edgewood, but is listed as an outside linebacker for the West, and he wants to finish his prep career with a flourish.
“It’s definitely an exciting feeling,” McIntyre said. “To be honest, I didn’t think I’d make it. But now that I’m here, I’m definitely going to take the opportunity and show that I deserve to be here.”
Jones is gearing up for his second season at the Woodward helm, with the Bulldogs going 2-8 in 2017. He’s a Dayton guy who coached under Jay Minton at Wayne and Ken Moyer at Dayton Christian.
“It’s a different day here at Woodward. It’s not easy, but I took it voluntarily. I turned down some other jobs to take this one,” Jones said. “I really want to see what will happen if we take that infrastructure that a Wayne would have or a Dayton Christian would have and create that here and provide a true program atmosphere in the inner city.
“Everybody can’t go to Moeller or Princeton or Colerain or Winton Woods. Kids are going to be here in the city, and they deserve to have a viable program, a viable option. That’s what we’re doing here at Woodward.”
Jones is a 1997 Colonel White graduate who started at Chaminade Julienne, then played Canadian high school ball in Vancouver for a year before returning to Dayton and attending Colonel White.
“Vancouver is a beautiful place. I have a lot of family up there,” Jones said. “It was three-down football, which was fun in the passing game, but a little different in the running game. I had a lot of fun playing football and basketball in Vancouver. I did very well in both.”
He admitted to “getting in trouble” at CJ and in Canada, but later joined the United States Marine Corps and earned a degree at Wright State University.
“I was into a lot of stuff in high school,” Jones said. “My dad was a musician and was gone a lot, so I had a lot of freedom as a young man. But that really kind of prepared me to make a decision to go to the Marine Corps and get some discipline and foundation. That was one of the best decisions in my life.”
What: 43rd Southwestern Ohio Football Coaches Association Ron Woyan East-West All-Star Game
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Kings Stadium, 5500 Columbia Road, Kings Mills
Admission: $5 at the gate
EAST 24, WEST 18
1971 — West 23-12; 1972 — East 37-21; 1973 — East 20-8; 1974 — East 12-8; 1975 — East 14-7; 1976 — East 22-7; 1977 — East 35-14; 1978 — West 22-7; 1979 — East 17-14; 1985 — West 15-14; 1986 — West 15-8; 1987 — West 35-14; 1988 — West 10-6; 1989 — East 18-6; 1990 — West 24-20; 1991 — West 35-0; 1992 — West 25-7; 1993 — West 27-6; 1994 — East 8-3; 1995 — West 24-18; 1996 — West 19-17; 1997 — East 18-0; 1998 — East 23-14; 1999 — West 14-13; 2000 — East 18-7; 2001 — East 21-16; 2002 — West 21-17; 2003 — West 6-0; 2004 — East 26-13; 2005 — West 42-19; 2006 — West 35-0; 2007 — East 28-18; 2008 — East 41-21; 2009 — East 42-35; 2010 — East 21-13; 2011 — East 39-35; 2012 — East 17-14; 2013 — East 21-19; 2014 — West 63-43; 2015 — East 40-20; 2016 — East 21-12; 2017 — East 23-7
ROSTERS (Subject to change)
Quarterbacks — Javontay Barr (North College Hill), Alex Schaefer (Clark Montessori), Tim Williams (Aiken)
Offensive Linemen — Andy Combs (Reading), Noah Cox (Oak Hills), Ezra McQueen (Woodward), Dillon Stone (Hamilton), T.J. Vicars (Ross), Nate Weber (Harrison)
Running Backs — Ryan Brewster (Clark Montessori), Dasontez Hutchins (Woodward), Courtney Woodward (North College Hill), Nakhyje Wright (Lockland)
Receivers — Martis Edwards (Gamble Montessori), Keith Fisher (Clark Montessori), DaShawn Lawrence (Taft), Ju’Aries Montgomery (Mount Healthy), Tyrez Shaw (Northwest)
Tight Ends — Heshimu North (Woodward), Joe Valentine (Ross)
Defensive Linemen — Derrian Anderson (Taft), Kameron Hughes (North College Hill), Chase Luckett (Badin), Kevan Ridley (St. Bernard), Jason Smith (Hamilton)
Linebackers — Keoni Jones (Aiken), Tyreke King (St. Bernard), Tyler Long (Hughes), Nick Malone (Oak Hills), Deric McIntyre (Edgewood), Quanterrious Moore (Mount Healthy), Tim Roberts (Talawanda), Kegen Rogers (Badin), Austin Silcox (Harrison)
Defensive Backs — Mike Browning (Harrison), Jared Fox (Wyoming), Quincy Legette (Aiken), Gabe Mathews (Hamilton), Shane McNally (La Salle), Ethan Minges (Ross), Jalen Perry (Northwest), Hezekiah Walker (Western Hills)
Place-Kicker/Punter — Sergio Listo (Wyoming)
Quarterbacks — Seth Becker (Bethel-Tate), Blake King (Milford), Luke Wiederhold (Fayetteville)
Offensive Linemen — Andrew Arnold (Goshen), Yoesph Carter (Princeton), Joey Groeber (Clermont Northeastern), Luis Hernandes (Mariemont), Nathaneel Rudd (Franklin), Nick Sanchez (New Richmond), Greg Tuggle (Kings)
Running Backs — Kyle Blaha (Anderson), Owen Holtke (Bethel-Tate), Robert Jackson (Riverview East), Nate Webster III (Loveland)
Receivers — Tommy Bauman (Kings), Rafael Floyd (Princeton), Dylan Fry (Lakota East), Chandler Kinhalt (New Richmond), Will Scaggs (Batavia), Austin Watt (Anderson)
Defensive Linemen — Austin Blankenship (Norwood), Ryan Kozak (Miami Valley Christian Academy), David Tosh (Little Miami), Garrett Vanover (Kings)
Linebackers — Zack Ball (Lebanon), Logan Bloom (Waynesville), Kyle Fehr (Sycamore), Gunnar Johnson (West Clermont), Patrick Magarian (Cincinnati Country Day), Connor Pohl (Cincinnati Country Day)
Defensive Backs — Marcus Borden (Walnut Hills), Milyke Brown (Withrow), Alex Deyhle (Moeller), Dominic Johnson (Withrow), Sebastian Lewis (Withrow), Tyree Mizell (Mason), Tyrese Sherman (Princeton), Jake Shirey (Little Miami), Edmond “Ace” Taylor (Purcell Marian), Jahi Taylor (Purcell Marian)
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