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Ohio All-Stars Seize Big 33 Win
Buckeye stars knock off Pennsylvania's finest 21-14
By Rick Smith

Hershey, Pennsylvania (July 24, 1999) - The conventional wisdom was that the Ohio All-Stars would throw the football in an attempt to beat their rival from the Keystone state. After all, Ohio had torched the Pennsylvania All-Stars a year earlier with a strong aerial onslaught en route to a 34-13 laugher in the 1998 Big 33 All-Star Classic. Furthermore, this Pennsylvania team was decidedly bigger and stronger than last year's team and, surely, the Ohio offense would have to go up top to repeat.

So much for conventional wisdom. Ohio used a strong running attack and good field position to score its second straight Big 33 victory, a come-from-behind 21-14 win.

It appeared early on that Pennsylvania might blow Ohio right out of Hersheypark Stadium. Perry Traditional Academy quarterback Rod Rutherford, a University of Pittsburgh recruit, ignited the Pennsylvania offense late in the first quarter by completing a 43 yard bomb to Cumberland Valley's Art Thomas. The strike came on a third down and 22 play from the Pennsylvania 15 yard line. Thomas, a 6'3" 187 pounder, will play at the University of Virginia this fall.

"I thought I had a good game," said Rutherford, "I did what I was supposed to do." Rutherford finished as the game's leading passer with 76 passing yards.

From there, Lebanon running back Mike Kitchen, on his way to Georgia Tech, got a chance to show off his considerable skills. Just before the first quarter clock expired, the 5'10" 195 pound Kitchen grabbed a Rutherford screen pass in the left flat and weaved his way through the Ohio secondary for a 20 yard gain.

On the first play of the second quarter, Kitchen exploded off left tackle and raced untouched into the end zone for a 21 yard score. Kitchen rushed for 47 yards on 10 carries on the evening. West Allegheny's Brad Nida, who will be a walk-on this fall at the University of Pittsburgh, nailed the extra point and Pennsylvania held a 7-0 lead.

Pennsylvania wasted no time lighting up the scoreboard again as, on the ensuing possession, George Washington High School's Bruce Perry used an incredible 360 degree spin move and his lightning quick speed (4.28 seconds in the 40 yard dash) to dart 51 yards for the game's second score. The 5'10" 187 pound Perry was the game's leading rusher with 83 yards on 11 carries and was named the Pennsylvania team's Most Valuable Player. He is a University of Maryland recruit.

Trailing 14-0 midway through the second quarter, it was time for Ohio to go to work. Aided by 25 yards in Pennsylvania penalties during the drive, including a controversial pass interference call against Woodland Hills defensive back William Ferguson, Ohio drove 76 yards to cut the Keystone state's lead in half.

The drive was capped off by a 7 yard touchdown run by Wyoming High School's Richard Hall, one of eight Ohio State recruits to play in the game for the Ohio All-Stars, with just 12 seconds remaining in the half. Hall enjoyed a phenomenal career at Wyoming with 7,376 rushing yards and 121 touchdowns, second all-time among Ohio high school players.

"The score at the end of the half was a momentum builder for us because the players believed in themselves a little more and they knew they could come back," said Ohio and Perry High School head coach Bob Ritley.

Ohio's Derrick Toles evened things up 14-14 on the strength of a one yard touchdown plunge by Harding High's Deryck Toles, a 6'1" 210 pounder who will probably see action as a safety at Penn State. Toles, led Ohio in rushing with 70 yards on 8 carries. He earned the Ohio MVP award following the game for his efforts.

Ohio completed the comeback with a 60 yard drive that began on the final play of the third quarter. Following a 21 yard gain on a shovel pass from Granville's Scott McMullen (Ohio State) to Dunbar's Jade Pruitt (Indiana), Hall scored his second touchdown of the game on a 24 yard dash around right end with 9:23 left in the game. Hall finished the contest with 41 yards rushing on 5 carries.

Pennsylvania squandered any hope of a comeback by committing turnovers on each of its final two possessions of the game.

"Ohio took advantage of good field position and that was the key to the game," said Pennsylvania assistant coach and Rochester head coach Dan Matsook.

"Our kids never let up and they wanted to win," said Ritley, "I'm really very proud of them"

Game Statistics
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Ohio 0 7 7 7 21
PA 0 14 0 0 14

Second Quarter
PA - Mike Kitchen 21 run (Brad Nida kick)
PA - Bruce Perry 51 run (Nida kick)
Ohio - Richard Hall 7 run (B J. Sander kick)

Third Quarter
Ohio - Deryck Toles 1 run (Sander kick)

Fourth Quarter
Ohio - Hall 24 run (Sander kick)

Individual Stats

Ohio: Toles 8-70, TD; Hall 5-41, 2 TDs; Anthony Floyd 3-9, Ben Swallow 2-7, Matt Wilhelm 1-6
PA: Bruce Perry 11-83, TD; Mike Kitchen 10-47, TD; Rod Rutherford, 7-14; Grant Wiley 3-5

Ohio: Scott McMullen 7-13-0-53, Swallow 4-9-0-31
PA: Rutherford 3-7-0-76, Matt Schaub 1-5-0-7, Chad Schwenk 2-4-0-25

Ohio: Jade Pruitt 2-25, Floyd 2 for 22, Lee Evans 2-10, Hall 2-3, Toles 1-10; Alex Glantzis 1-9; Nate Stead 1-6
PA: Art Thomas 2-53, Kitchen 2-27, Wiley 1-15, Jafar Williams 1-13.

Team statistics
First downs
Yds. Rushing
Yds. Passing
Total Yards