HUBBARD - The 30th annual Jack Arvin Classic all-star football game came down to who made the least mistakes, and who scored the big plays.
The plays that ultimately decided the game were a back-to-back series for the Trumbull squad in a 27-15 victory over the Mahoning/Columbiana squad at Hubbard's Community Stadium on Thursday night.
Despite the loss, it was a game worth remembering for Columbiana graduate Steve Kurilla.
"It's great playing with a bunch of guys, everybody on the field really knows how to play the game," he said. "The coach can put in a play and in two seconds, he just says a certain formation and a certain play and everybody knows what to do no matter what the defense or anything. So it's a lot of fun having the same talent all around you. Everybody's just at the next level. It's just really fun."
Late in the third quarter, and trailing 6-2, Mahoning coach Ryan Sloan decided to gamble and go for a first down in a fourth-and-7 situation at their own 43-yard line. However, Jackson-Milton quarterback Jeremy Fitzpatrick had his pass batted down, turning the ball over to Trumbull.
Three plays later, Champion's Jacob Rasey raced around right end 27-yards to score a touchdown and giving the Trumbull squad a 12-9 lead. The score came with just 1:16 remaining in the third quarter. But it was on defense that the Trumbull squad put the final nail in the Mahoning team's coffin.
On the first play of the fourth stanza, Niles' Nick Sanchez intercepted a pass by Struthers' Gary Munteon and returned it 22 yards to the Mahoning 8-yard line. From there Trumbull scored again on a 1-yard plunge by quarterback Brennan Wassil to push the advantage to 19-9.
"That turnover and penalties is what really killed us," Kurilla said. "They were mouthing off to us, we were mouthing off back, and it just wasn't going well for either team. It got pretty serious pretty quick."
Mahoning cut into the deficit on its next possession. Munteon hit Canfield's Kimu Kim on a 30-yard pass with four minutes remaining in the contest. A two-point attempt following the touchdown failed, leaving the score 19-15.
Trumbull sealed the game with a touchdown by Girard's James Cupan from 3 yards out with only 1:43 left. Cupan took home "Player of the Game" honors.
"We all became close," Kurilla said of the Mahoning team. "I really enjoyed them. It almost make me feel bad for the rivalries we had during the season, because we became such good friends during the this."
"Being from such a small school, you know everybody," Springfield's Chris Wells said. "So being able to play with those guys was pretty cool. It's a great honor to be on this team, and being able to play with some of the guys that we played against (Columbiana and Lowellville). People we wanted to kill. It was a good feeling to have them on my team, and they are a great player and I know what they can do."
For Springfield's Nick and Chris Wells, this game was an emotion end to their scholastic career.
"It's emotional, definitely because we are not playing in college unfortunately," Chris Wells said. "He is on my side of the ball so we kill anybody in front of us."
Player of the Game for the Mahoning team went to Canfield's Kimu Kim, who scored two touchdowns - one rushing and one receiving.
MAHONING: 2-0-7- 6-15
M-Safety, ball snapped over quarterback.
T-James Cupan 2 run (kick failed).
M-Kimu Kim 75 run (Vince Yurcho kick).
T-Jacob Rasey 27 run (Wyatt Ford kick).
T-Brennan Wassil 1 run (Wyatt Ford kick).
M-Kimu Kim 30 pass from Gary Munteon (pass failed).
T-James Cupan 3 run (Wyatt Ford kick).