DAYTON: Luke Grandjean understood Saturday afternoon was sort of a last hurrah for his high school football career.
And what better stage than the Ohio North-South Classic at Welcome Stadium.
The North Canton Hoover wide receiver/defensive back snagged an interception off a tip from St. Vincent-St. Mary linebacker Newman Williams late in the game to seal the 23-14 win for the North on Saturday afternoon.
Grandjean, a Kent State signee as an athlete, captured defensive player of the game honors for the North.
Grandjean said he thoroughly enjoyed his time in Dayton after arriving Thursday for team practices. He made a lot of new friends and said this game was very special to his career highlights.
“It’s bittersweet,” Grandjean said. “But I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.”
Grandjean said he might consider playing in the East-West game, but for now he is grateful for the statewide stage that took place Saturday.
Several other area players shined in the second game of the doubleheader Saturday. Walsh Jesuit kicker Mike Knoll (Boston College) earned offensive player of the game honors for the North.
“It means a lot,” Knoll said of his award. “There is a ton of talent out here today. You can’t say enough. All these players are phenomenal. They are all hard workers. … I am truly honored to be with these players. I think we all played a great game.”
Knoll made a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter and added two extra points among his highlights. He also had a 51-yard punt.
St. Vincent-St. Mary senior running back/wide receiver Parris Campbell (Ohio State) had a 62-yard touchdown reception with three seconds left in the second quarter and Knoll added an extra point to give the North a 20-14 lead at halftime.
North went ahead 13-7 earlier in the second when Mansfield Senior wide receiver Chekiah Washington returned a ball 85 yards for a touchdown with 4:11 left in the second quarter. Knoll added the extra point.
Stow wide receiver Brian Groves caught a 9-yard touchdown pass to make the first score for the North squad near the end of the first quarter.
Groves made the reception from Mentor quarterback Connor Krizancic with six seconds left in the first to close the gap to 7-6. The North squad missed the extra point.
The score was set up by some area players earlier in the drive, including a 17-yard reception by Alliance’s Parrish Martin.
Lake running back Matt Blasiole (Malone) also had a 6-yard carry before the touchdown reception. He finished with six carries for 20 yards.
Massillon Washington wide receiver Marcus Whitfield (Toledo) had four receptions for 31 yards. Campbell finished with two receptions for 60 yards.
Louisville coach John Demarco coached the North squad.
The 69th annual North-South Classic is considered the nation’s longest-running high school all-star game. The North has won three consecutive games in the large school division.
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.