Article By: Bryan DeArdo, OhioCollegeFootball.com
COLUMBUS, OHIO -- In a game that transcended the great caliber of football that exits in college football throughout Ohio, the outcome of a highly-contested Ohio Army National Guard Senior Bowl II would not be decided until the game's final seconds.
With the Crew Stadium crowed in a frenzied pitch, North Team and Defiance safety Kyle Longsdorf sealed the win with an end zone interception with 26 seconds left that enabled his squad to defeat the South Team 19-16 on Saturday.
Lonsdorf's pick ended a furious 13-play, 89-yard drive by the South Team that included a pair of fourth down conversions. With the South Team needing eight yards on fourth down with less than two minutes remaining, Dayton quarterback and Offensive MVP Steve Valentino ran right on a reverse before turning around and hitting Capital's Marty Assmann. Assmann broke a tackle and gained 27 yards down the left sideline. The North Team then stuffed a running play for no gain before Longsdorf sealed the win with his interception through traffic in the back left end of the end zone.
In a game that included five lead changes, the North Team took the lead for good when Ohio Northern quarterback Kyle Simmons found Tiffin receiver Trey Williams down the middle for his second touchdown of the game with 14:31 left. Williams finished with three catches for 27 yards, while Simmons completed 6-of-10 passes for 62 yards.
The South squad overcame their modest 6-3 halftime deficit with two third quarter touchdowns to take a 16-13 lead heading in the final stanza. Valentino hit Wittenberg receiver Anthony Kralich for a 26-yard touchdown down the right sideline to give the South Team their first lead just over three minutes into the third quarter.
After Simmons lofted a perfect 15-yard fade pass to Williams to give North Team the lead back at 13-9 three possessions later, South running back and Ohio University's Vince Davidson took an option pitch from Valentino and scathed untouched down the right sideline. The 21-yard romp capped off the 23-point third quarter. Simmons and Williams gave the North Team the lead for good less than 30 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Two field goals by Findlay's Cameron Stevens gave the North a 6-0 lead with 1:48 left in the first half. The South's first field goal was set up by a blocked punt at midfield by Longsdorf that was returned 31-yards by Malone's Cody Carroll. Carroll finished the game with two sacks and a forced fumble.
After North linebacker and Baldwin-Wallace graduate Ryan Kish (Amherst/Marion Steele) forced a South fumble on their ensuing possession, North took over at their own 44-yard-line and marched 40 yards on seven plays to set up Morales's field goal. The field goal was by virtue of two completions from Heidelberg quarterback Andrew Miller to Tiffin's David Singleton for a total of 37 yards.
Assmann responded by hooking up with Ohio State's Ricky Crawford for gains of 12 and 9 yards. Assmann's 14-yard run set up a 43-yard field goal by Miami's Trevor Cook to put the North squad on the scoreboard at intermission.
Wittenberg's Eddie Vallery was awarded the Defensive MVP award after leading both teams with eight tackles and three sacks.
The North team came away the victory for the second year in succession after beating the South Team 7-0 in the inaugural senior bowl last season at Upper Arlington's Marv Moorehead Stadium. Head coach Lee Owens and his Ashland staff coached the victorious North Team, while Henry Stanford and his staff at Capital University coached the South squad.
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