The official announcement came down Thursday night, and obviously, it didn’t sit well with four of Southeastern Ohio’s top senior football players.
That’s because, as announced in a release on the association’s website by Ohio High School Football Coaches Association President Tom Pavlansky, the 2020 OHSFCA North-South All-Star Classic —set for Saturday, April 25 —has been cancelled.
The North-South Football Classic is the longest-running high school football all-star contest in the entire country, and the decision to cancel was made in response to the threat of the novel coronavirus throughout not only Ohio, but all of the United States.
Pavlansky’s statement on the OHSFCA website reads as follows:
“The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association’s main priority is the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, event staff, fans and media. With this in mind, the OHSFCA has made the decision to cancel the North-South Classic scheduled for April 25, 2020 in Massillon at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. We appreciate the support of BSN, the city of Massillon, VisitCanton, the Cheerleading Coaches, and the numerous volunteers who have given their time and efforts to ensure another great environment for the longest-running high school football all-star game in the country. We look forward to the OHSFCA North-South Classic returning in 2021.”
Two players from Scioto County, Talyn Parker of Portsmouth and Makya Matthews of Wheelersburg, were scheduled to represent the South squad in the Division IV-V-VI-VII matchup —as were Waverly’s Payton Shoemaker and Ironton’s Junior Jones.
Kickoff was set for noon inside Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
Parker, Matthews and Shoemaker were all to represent the South as running backs, while Jones was to do the same along the defensive line.
Parker, Matthews and Jones —following a tweet by Portsmouth Daily Times sports reporter Paul Boggs citing the announcement —naturally expressed disappointing reactions on their individual Twitter accounts.
Parker and Matthews in Division V and Shoemaker in Division IV all earned first-team all-Ohio accolades as running backs, while Jones was a third-team defensive lineman.
All four of their teams also competed in the 2019 state playoffs, as Wheelersburg (Division V Region 19) and Waverly (Division IV Region 15) were regional semifinalists while Ironton was the Division V state runner-up.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved