Dominant defenses

Turnovers set up scores in 10-6 Trumbull victory

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Trumbull teammates, from left, Marco Donatelli from Girard, Benton Tennant from LaBrae and Robbie Savin from Niles, celebrate one of two interceptions made by Tennant in the Jack Arvin Football Classic at Niles.

NILES — The 35th annual Jack Arvin Classic started off with a somber feeling. The late head coach and molder of men Phil Annarella was honored with a moment of silence before the game.

It’s fair to say coach Annarella would be very proud of a close game that took place between the best players in an area that he loved serving, as the Trumbull all-stars defeated the Mahoning all-stars, 10-6, at Bo Rein Stadium.

“It was a fantastic effort by the Trumbull County team,” Champion’s Tim McGlynn, the Trumbull coach, said after the game. “These guys really came together. It’s funny how when you watch these guys they all stay together in their little clique, and now the game’s here and they’re all jumping on each other and high-fiving.

“Our defense played a great game today, I thought there would be more points scored.”

The game started off with a great display of defense when early in the first quarter an interception by Benton Tennant of LaBrae led to a drive to the red zone for Trumbull. Warren G. Harding kicker Mike Clauss of Trumbull struck first in the game with a field goal with 5:16 left in the first quarter.

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Robbie Savin (28) from Niles looks for an opening after taking advantage of a block by Lakeview’s Scott Wilcox (76) Thursday in the Jack Arvin Classic. Savin was named the MVP.

Mahoning wasted no time responding as Boardman quarterback and Saginaw Valley State commit Michael O’Horo engineered a drive that led to a touchdown pass to Youngstown State commit Jordan Trowers of Valley Christian. Defense was the storyline in the first half as Mahoning held a 6-3 lead.

Tennant, a Baldwin Wallace commit, had two interceptions for Trumbull. The MVP award went to Rob Savin of Niles who had many key caries in the game.

Being in the same conference as LaBrae, McGlynn said he knows how much of a hawk Benton can be in the defensive secondary.

“Coming from Champion and playing against LaBrae, those guys are good. He’s a ballhawk and great athlete,” McGlynn said.

For the majority of the third quarter Trumbull could not get anything going offensively with the score remaining at 6-3. But then a fumble recovered by Lukas Mosora of Hubbard put Trumbull in the red zone again with a chance to take the lead.

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Warren G. Harding’s Jeremy Wilson escapes from a Mahoning County defender on his way to scoring the winning touchdown Thursday night.

Quarterback Trystan Mollohan of Chalker threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Warren G. Harding and University of Charleston commit Jeremy Wilson to put Trumbull up, 10-6. They avenged last year’s loss as a gritty defensive performance and forcing of turnovers led them to victory.

For the coaches in this game the bond they have formed with players they have coached against and players they have never even seen play has been a satisfying experience.

“I told the kids it was a pleasure coaching them,” McDonald coach Dan Williams, the Mahoning team coach, said. “Great kids all the way around, and they are exceptional football players.”

As the final minutes of the game wound down a lot of unique stories were coming to an end for the players. Many players were going away to college, and many were never going to put on a pair of shoulder pads again. But one thing that every player shared was the honor and privilege of representing their communities and programs for one final time.

Terrance Davis and Marco Donatelli of Girard are both continuing their student-athlete careers at the University of Akron in the fall. But their time shutting down opposing offenses together at Girard has come to a close.

Tribune Chronicle / Brian Yauger Josh Celli of McDonald, playing for the Mahoning team, cuts through a hole as Trumbull defenders Preston Rapczak (8) of Newton Falls and Dakota Whitt (5) of Lakeview converge.

“It was a good experience, man,” Davis said. “The best of the best are out here, with us leaving it’s a good time.”

“It’s always a pleasure to share the field with my brother,” Donatelli said. “Terrance Davis is a great player, and I can’t wait to take on the next four years with him together. I feel like we’ll do some things and go win a MAC championship.”

Both were aware that this game was another way of impressing Akron more than they already have with their talent together on the defensive side of the ball.

“I don’t want to have a bed rep on an all star-game,” Davis said. “I try to make this an example to show what I still got and transition that to college football.”

“We came out here, I knew he was my cornerback and he knew I was his linebacker,” Donatelli said. “Whenever we had trouble we knew we could look at each other and know no one could stop us.”