NEW MIDDLETOWN-The 35th annual Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic was a painful edition for the Ohio side.
The Buckeyes were roughed up for four quarters by a bruising Keystoner defense en route to a 24-7 defeat Friday at Springfield High School.
"They flew around all game," Crestview quarterback Collin Gilbert said. "They were really good. It was tough for us to get anything going."
Poland quarterback Jacob Wolfe took home the MVP honors for Ohio, completing 5-of-10 passes for 61 yards and one touchdown. However, he too felt the sting of Pennsylvania's defense as he was knocked from the game midway through the fourth quarter with a hard hit to his knee. Wolfe was on the ground for several minutes and was carted off the field shortly after the game.
"It's sad to see," said Gilbert. "We were starting to get a little something going on offense. "You never want to see someone get hurt in a game like this."
Wide receiver Craig Thompson from New Brighton took home MVP honors for the Keystoners hauling in nine catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns. Pennsylvania also got major contributions from both its quarterbacks as Alex Rowse from Beaver finished 6-for-12 for 140 yards with two touchdowns, while New Brighton's Gabe Greco was 10-for-16 for 150 yards and one touchdown to go with one interception.
"Their passing attack was very accurate and the receiver (Thompson) was quick and hard for our guys to stay with," Springfield's Anthony Scandy said. "He's a heck of a player."
The story of the game, however, was the Pennsylvania defense. The front seven, in particular linebacker Donovan Cobb from Aliquippa made life rough on both Ohio quarterbacks. Gilbert finished 6 for 19 for 53 yards with an interception and a fumble, while being sacked twice. Wolfe was also brought down for a pair of sacks.
'Their speed was their biggest strength," Gilbert said. "They were fast at every position. They were where we needed to be before we could get there."
It wasn't much better for Ohio on the ground as Gilbert was held to 34 yards on seven carries, while Bill Goodall from South Range had 37 yards on 11 carries and Zack Van Giesen from Leetonia had 3 yards on two carries.
"They came out pumped up and ready to go on defense," Van Giesen said. "We came out a little soft. They were a better team. We tried to compete in the second half but it wasn't enough."
Ohio mounted only two sustained drives. Midway throughout the third quarter, Wolfe found his Poland teammate George Chammas on a 27-yard pass to set up the touchdown to McDade. In the fourth, trailing 17-7, the Buckeyes moved the ball to the Pennsylvania 25 before Wolfe's injury. Gilbert fumbled shortly after, putting the nail in the coffin.
"I had fun, Gilbert said. "It was a nice experience, it's too bad we couldn't have played a little better.
Gilbert and Wolfe are both going to the University of Mount Union - Gilbert for football, Wolfe for basketball.
"We've been talking with each other," Gilbert said. "I've been trying to convince him to play football. I hope he is okay for basketball season."
Scandy's mom Jamie won the 50/50 prize of $549.
"It was my birthday yesterday," Scandy joked. "Hopefully, I see some of it."
Pennsylvania now leads the all-time series 25-10.
OHIO: 0- 0-7- 0- 7
P-Alex Rowse 32 pass to Craig Tompson (Matt White kick)
P-Matt White 35 FG
O-Jacob Wolfe 2 pass to Josh McDade (Garrett Beech kick)
P-Alex Rowse 7 pass to Craig Thompson (White kick)
P-Gabe Geco 35 pass to Craig Thompson (White kick)
RUSHING-Ohio, Bill Goodall (South Range) 13-37, Collin Gilbert (Crestview) 7-34, Zack Van Giesen (Leetonia) 3-2; Penn, Jared Myers (Ellwood City) 13-78, Cole Blake (Moon) 14-51, Gabe Greco (New Brighton) 4-21.
PASSING-Ohio, Jacob Wolfe (Poland) 5-10-61-1, Collin Gilbert (Crestview) 6-19-53-0; Penn, Alex Rowse (Beaver) 6-12-140-2, Gabe Greco (New Brighton) 10-16-150-1.
RECEIVING-Ohio Marcus Crittenden (Salem) 3-26, George Chammas (Poland) 1-27, Josh McDade (Crestview) 3-11, Anthony Scandy (Springfield) 1-10; Penn, Craig Thompson (New Brighton) 9-171, Mitch Bufalini (Hopewell) 2-63, Jared Hogue (Freedom) 2-45.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES-Ohio, Blake Roar (Indian Creek), Zack Bader (Poland); Penn, Tory Delmonico (West Allegheny).
INTERCEPTIONS-Ohio, Mike Audi (Poland); Penn, Owen Nearhoof (Mars).