FINDLAY – It took a while for the Ohio high-powered offense to get going.
But in the second half, quarterback Grant Sherman (Kenton HS/Toledo) began finding Ohio State-bound wide receiver Marshon Lattimore.
However, by that time, Michigan had already established its running game.
Michigan used its ground game to knock off Ohio 27-14 in the first Ohio-Michigan Border Classic All-Star football game Saturday at Donnell Stadium.
Michigan led 10-7 at the half. Ohio rallied with a much better second half, including Ohio coach Mike Fell (Lima Senior) pulling a trick out of his Spartans’ playbook.
Michigan led 24-14 after three quarters.
“I thought our guys played physical and both teams represented themselves real well,” Fell said. “Once in a while they put good pressure on us up the gut and we had to roll out a little bit and I thought that opened some things up for us. … It was a good ballgame by both teams.”
While Team Ohio wanted to throw, Team Michigan preferred to use its size, power and depth to run the ball.
Michigan finished with 310 total yards, with 232 on the ground.
Michigan tailback Devon Spaulding (Westland John Glenn HS/Central Michigan) finished with 76 yards on six carries, including a 60-yard TD. Michigan quarterback Giovanni Rescigno (Warren DeLasalle HS/Rutgers) ran for 55 yards on 12 carries.
Sherman started slow, completing just 7 of 12 for 67 yards at the half. He was also sacked five times for the game.
But in the second half, Sherman got in his passing rhythm and finished the day completing 15 of 29 for 204 yards. He threw one touchdown and was picked off twice.
“They have a lot of great athletes and we came out a little flat,” Sherman said. “But we got in rhythm as the game went on. In the second half, I tried to move around in the pocket a little bit better.
“They were the best athletes I’ve ever played against. They were amazing. They were fast and they were big. They hit hard.”
Lattimore (Glenville HS/Ohio State) had eight receptions for 82 yards.
Ohio scored first on a 40-yard TD pass from Sherman to Marcus Whitfield (Massillon HS/Toledo) with 1:57 left in the first quarter.
Michigan tied the game at 7 on Rescigno’s 7-yard run for a TD with 6:58 left in the first.
Michigan kicker Kyle Bambard gave his team the lead to stay 10-7 with a 36-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
Michigan pushed the lead to 17-7 when Spaulding got loose off right tackle for a 60-yard TD early in the third quarter.
Ohio closed the margin to 24-14 on a 28-yard TD run by tailback Davon Anderson (Glenville HS/Ohio State). Anderson led the Ohio rushing with 32 yards on six carries.
Ohio trailed 27-14 with 6:10 to go when it had a fourth-and-2 at its own 35. Fell called timeout and sent in his power-I formation.
Sherman then faked the handoff inside and hit a speeding Lattimore down the middle for 25 and a first down.
“That was a good play by coach Fell and we hadn’t practiced that play,” Sherman said. “He put it in on the fly and it worked perfectly.”
Added Fell, “Grant’s a tough, hard kid and he makes plays. He has a strong arm and I like anyone who hang in there and stay in the pocket and isn’t afraid to take a hit.”
On the next play, Sherman fired a 40-yard pass to Charles Holland in the left corner of the end zone for what appeared to be a TD. But it was ruled incomplete, as Holland caught the ball just out of bounds.
Ohio wouldn’t get any closer.
Ohio had Lima Senior players quarterback Justice Graham (Urbana) and linebacker Josh Boquist (Malone). Graham completed 3 of 4 passes for 7 yards. He ran four times for -7.
Boquist made nine tackles.
“It felt like high school football to me and maybe that’s because I’ve grown so much as a player,” Boquist said.
Boquist said he enjoyed the entire week of bonding with his teammates, including playing in the Ohio ping-pong tournament.
“Stuff like that (the ping pong) I’ll remember forever,” Boquist said. “It was a great experience.”
Added Fell, “Josh is a warrior, and I thought he represented Lima Senior very well.”
Kenton defensive lineman Noah Furbush (Michigan) also had nine tackles. Kenton wide receiver Justin Sawmiller had three catches for 9 yards.
“It was a lot of fun and hanging out with the guys all week long,” Furbush said. “It was a tremendous experience. … And it was great to play with them (my Kenton teammates) one last time.”
Ohio players of the game were wide receiver Lattimore and defensive back Nilijah Ballew (Cincinnati Walnut Hills HS/Bowling Green State).
Michigan players of the game were tailback Spaulding and linebacker Jared Wangler (Warren DeLasalle HS/Michigan).