Bowden bows out with W

Former Harding star leads Trumbull team to 20-7 victory

Tribune Chronicle / Eric Murray The Trumbull County team huddles up prior to Thursday’s Jack Arvin Classic in Hubbard. Trumbull defeated the Mahoning County team, 20-7.

HUBBARD — Former Warren G. Harding standout Lynn Bowden — arguably the area’s best football player the past few years — helped lead the Trumbull County squad over the Mahoning/Columbiana squad, 20-7, in Friday’s 33rd annual Jack Arvin Football Classic at Hubbard Memorial Stadium. Bowden was named Trumbull MVP, as he threw two touchdowns passes and ran for another.

“Ending your last high school game with a win, and enjoying it with other people you may not have known during the season, never knew period,” Bowden said. “That made it exciting for me getting this W. I’m speechless.”

Bowden scored his first touchdown on Trumbull’s second possession of the game. Bowden took a handoff from his own 35-yard-line, diced his way up the middle and sprinted up the far sideline in a footrace that only he would win, taking the ball 65 yards to paydirt.

In the second quarter, Trumbull stopped a fourth-and-1 play from its own 39, as former Lisbon quarterback Colin Sweeney attempted a run up the middle on a keeper. As Trumbull defenders exploded past the Mahoning offensive line, Sweeney was caught dancing around in the backfield for a 5-yard loss.

Trumbull then faced a third and 29 on its ensuing drive. Bowden threw a screen pass to Howland’s Tyriq Ellis, who quickly cut up the far sideline then back to the middle of the field, as he raced home for a 71-yard touchdown reception, extending the Trumbull lead to 14-0.

Tribune Chronicle / Eric Murray McDonald’s Dylan Portolese, left, lines up against Trumbull teammate and Warren G. Harding’s Marlin Richardson during pregame drills at the 33rd annual Jack Arvin Classic at Hubbard’s Memorial Stadium.

“It’s easy, you don’t have to coach much — believe me,” McDonald and Trumbull coach Dan Williams said of the backfield duo of Ellis and Bowden. “I don’t get a chance to coach that type of kid at a smaller division school. Just let them do their thing, and that’s what we talked about from Day 1 with all of our kids — these guys are the best of the best in all of Trumbull County.”

Mahoning eventually responded with its only score of the game, late in the second quarter. Former Fitch standout JC Mikovich fielded a line drive punt from his own 37, flew past Trumbull defenders, and had a convoy of Mahoning blockers ahead of him to walk into the end zone 63 yards later for the score.

Ultimately, 14-7 remained Trumbull’s lead until the fourth quarter. On another third and long situation, Bowden dropped back, pulled the trigger on a deep ball, and 60-some yards in the air later, his Harding teammate, Marlin Richardson, caught a jump ball at the 2 yard line, before walking in to the end zone for a 57-yard score to put the game out of reach.

“Marlin, my boy Richard, he called the play himself,” Bowden said. “He came up to coach and said, ‘Coach, I’m going to get it.’ That’s my boy, so I trust him with his word. I threw it up to him and that’s what he did, he made the play.”

Richardson would also make noise later in the quarter, but for other reasons. The game got more and more intense throughout, as physical hitting turned to trash talking. Richardson was hit with two unsportsmanlike penalties and was tossed from the game.

Tribune Chronicle / Eric Murray John F. Kennedy’s Bruce Johnson, left, and Brookfield’s Carmen Furillo, are in a three-point stance during Thursday’s Jack Arvin Classic in Hubbard.

The chippiness of the game caused players from both sides to come onto the field, but only words were exchanged. Meanwhile, the officials decided to wind down the final few minutes of the game clock during the disagreement. However, both sides shook hands and congratulated one another after the game, without incident.

Mikovich was named Mahoning/Columbiana MVP, while Bowden won the aforementioned Trumbull MVP. Bowden finished with 89 rushing yards, 155 passing yards and three total touchdowns.

“When people think of an all-star game, they probably think of an NBA-type or NFL, just let things go,” Bowden said. “Not in Northeast Ohio. I say it’s the birthplace of football, we play the toughest football, period. When you got teams trying to go at it and get margin of victory over everybody, it’s gonna be a fight.”