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West Branch grad Wilson scores 3 TDs in Team Ohio’s win

Staff photo / Brian Yauger. West Branch grad Nick Wilson (2) hauls in a touchdown during Team Ohio’s win over Team Pennsylvania. Wilson scored three times.

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. — In his last time representing West Branch on a football field, Nick Wilson made a splash.

Then he did it again.

And then one more time for good measure.

Wilson caught two first-half touchdown passes from Springfield’s Beau Brungard, then a third on the opening drive of the third quarter to help Team Ohio top the hosting Pennsylvania squad 35-28 in the 43rd annual Penn-Ohio All-Star Classic.

In Wilson’s words, that instant connection was helped by having a great quarterback of his own the last two years with the Warriors in rising senior Dru DeShields.

“It’s very similar to my junior and senior years, because those years we had a great quarterback. Then this one (Brungard) tonight. It was an unbelievable experience to be able to play with that kid. He’s going to go do great things at Youngstown State,” Wilson said.

Brungard’s favorite target Thursday evening got some praise from the future Penguin, mentioning how the offensive MVP award is due to Wilson’s play.

“That offensive player of the game, that’s 100 percent Nick,” Brungard said. “He made me look good tonight, and I have to give all the credit to my linemen blocking and Nick catching the ball. They did a great job, and I certainly didn’t get that on my own.”

Wilson, Steven Marra (who won the defensive MVP award), Greg Rockwell and Caleb Adams all represented the Warriors.

“I can’t even explain it,” Wilson said. “To come out here, and to be able to do what I did, I just think it shows, especially the four kids we had here from West Branch, that we wanted this game bad. We knew our community would show up and we had to put on for them.”

On Wilson’s white helmet were a ton of different team logos joining the arrowhead that normally adorns a West Branch lid.

In addition to the Warriors logo, stickers from Crestview and Springfield, among a few others from two different all-star games, were there.

“We’ve got Springfield, Columbiana, there’s a lot,” Wilson said. “It was definitely a surreal experience to be able to play with all these guys and how we meshed together to make a pretty good football team.”

Midway through the fourth quarter, Wilson also made a reception on a two-point conversion that gave Team Ohio the lead once again. The neighboring states ping-ponged the lead at the end, but the late-game heroics of the YSU-bound duo of Brungard and Dylan Dominguez (South Range) gave Ohio the late edge.

Marra joked about how ho-hum it was watching Wilson perform while the rest of the bench went nuts.

“It was awesome seeing everyone on the sidelines get super hype about him making a sweet catch,” Marra said. “I’ve seen him do this so many times, it’s just like I’m used to watching him do that, but it’s so crazy every time he does it.

Wilson also received a scholarship during halftime. Wilson will be attending Washington and Jefferson in the fall to pursue a degree and continue his football career.

In preparation for that moment, it’s going to be more of the same — a non-stop grind.

“I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing every day,” Wilson said. “Stick to the grind, keep running around, lifting, getting bigger. You can’t ever be good enough.”

byauger@tribtoday.com

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