ST. MARYS — Several standout football players will have one last hurrah on the gridiron at the high school level when they compete in the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association North-South Classic football games Saturday at Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
The Division 4-7 game will be played at noon and the Division 1-3 game will follow at 4 p.m.
Coaching the Division 1-3 South team will be St. Marys head coach Doug Frye.
A number of faces on Frey’s squad are familiar. In addition to his own players, Matt Patten and Julius Fisher, Wapakoneta’s Landon Hall and Lima Senior’s Darius Collins and Jaden Walker are also members of the South team. Bath’s Bo Gross, Fort Recovery’s Caleb Martin and Coldwater’s Zach Klosterman are the the Division 4-7 South team.
Joining Frye on the all-star coaching staff is one of his assistants Nick Yahl.
Frye said having a number of players selected for this prestigious honor not only shows the quality of players in this area but about the support it receives from the respective communities.
“I think we have a great area for sports and support of sports,” Frye said. “It says a lot about the community. It says a lot about the parents and it says a lot of about the coaching these kids are getting.”
Frye, who has previously served as an assistant coach to this event in the past, accepted the challenges of being head coach this year.
“First of all in area you are chosen by your peers to do something of that nature is certainly a big honor and so I appreciate that and take the responsibility of doing the best to keep the game going and put a good product on the field and the kids have a great experience,” Frye said.
Frye admits preparing for the all-star game poses a number of challenges such as recruiting players to participate in addition to preparing a semblance of a game plan both offensively and defensively. Frye takes over as the game transitions from Dayton to Canton.
Another factor that Frye faces is the time constraints he can spend with the team due to the game being moved up from June to April.
In his past as an assistant for the all-star game, Frye said in 2006 the team had 10 days to prepare and in 2009 at the Big 33 game played in Pennsylvania the squad had 14 days of practice. For this year’s game, Frye has three days to prepare.
“The biggest challenge is probably figuring out that time to get ready,” said Frye, who held a practice last weekend with the team.
Frye’s main goal for the game is to make sure the team and his assistant coaches have a great experience.
“We want to be able to build relationships with the kids and the coaches,” Frye said. “You may have known some of the kids and coaches and we get to spend more time together.”
Because of the limited amount of time to practice, the game plans are pretty much bare bones especially for the defense because they are limited to a 4-3 base with no switching and no blitzing.
Another challenge is putting together the special teams and Frye volunteered to tackle those chores.
“We’ve seen these kids one time so I think I’ve had eight re-dos on our special team sheets just based on watching the kids on their highlight tapes,” Frye said.
Frye added that this event is not only about the game but about the experience that began Wednesday and includes a banquet with special guest Paul Warfield, the hall of fame receiver who played for the Cleveland Browns and the Miami Dolphins. The teams will have the opportunity to tour the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Even though Frye said he is excited about this chance to coach he said his primary focus is to make sure others enjoy the event.
“I have never been a person of what I got out of the opportunity but I want to pay back what other people have done for me and I want to make sure it is organized enough for the players and the assistant coaches have a great time,” Frye said.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1