Patten, Fisher Cherish North-South Classic Win

St. Marys' Matt Patten and Julius Fisher celebrate with their South team teammates after winning the North-South Football Classic 38-34 on Saturday at Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
Sports Editor

Though St. Marys Roughriders coach Doug Frye was not coaching his wing-t Roughriders offense, it sure resembled one with a slim lead late in the 72nd edition of the Ohio North-South All-Star Football Classic big-school game Saturday afternoon at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.

Leading for the first time in the game after Newark's Jed Quackenbush’s 18-yard field goal gave Frye’s squad a 31-28 lead with 6:12 remaining, the South team — which featured Frye as the head coach, Nick Yahl as defensive coordinator and Roughriders seniors Matt Patten and Julius Fisher — rushed 13 times for a total of 62 yards in the final stanza.

And the South’s fourth quarter ended with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Reynoldsburg's Nate Barko to Ohio State-bound Connor Gessels of Pickerington North to pull away with a two-possession 38-28 advantage with 1:02 remaining as the South team defeated the North team 38-34.

The South rushed for 164 yards on 35 attempts in the game.

“Those kids battled,” said Frye after the game. “We lost a lot of Division I kids and the other team was clearly talented. But they wanted this and they fought hard. It was a fun game.”

Saturday’s all-star game was just another great feeling for Patten and Fisher — who both enjoyed a successful senior season as a team as well as individuals with a number of personal accolades on the gridiron and a win in the most prestigious high school football game in the state was the icing on the cake.

“I had a blast,” said the defensive end Patten — who will play collegiate football at Grannan University next season.  “I love it. It is a great atmosphere and a great place and the people that came to cheer us on, I am glad they made the trip from so far away.”

Patten ended the game with three tackles and Fisher finished with two tackles as each played nearly every snap on defense and special teams. Both will have one more high school game left in the Western Buckeye League vs. Midwest Athletic Conference All-Star Game on June 9 in Van Wert. Wapakoneta’s Landon Hall also played in Saturday’s game for the South team.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” said the defensive back Fisher  — who has committed to play football at Mount Joseph next season. “We built a good brotherhood in just the few days we were together and we had great chemistry on the field.”

For the full story, be sure to grab Monday's print edition of The Evening Leader.