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Football showcase intensely competitive

Alex McCrory’s four years at Shawnee High School included a trip to the state title game in 2011, as well as countless slugfests against foes in the Central Buckeye Conference and around the Springfield area.

When he was selected to play in the Miami Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game on Friday at Welcome Stadium, he knew he would be sharing a sideline with some of those former foes on the North team. He expected the experience to be — strange.

“At first it was kind of weird,” McCrory said. “It’s definitely different.”

The North lost to South 33-21, but the experience was worth it to McCrory, who found you can put together a close-knit team after three week of practice, and form a lifetime of memories.

“Sometimes it takes years to build chemistry on a team,” McCrory said. “But I feel like we’ve done it just this short amount of time. All of us really love this game, and that’s a common bond. I feel like we’ve come together well.”

The North nearly came together for a victory. Southeastern quarterback P.J. Bannion connected with teammate Duncan Mercer for three touchdowns. The last came with 3:48 remaining in the game and drew the North within six points of the South.

The North had a chance to win with two minutes left, but an errant pass was intercepted by Lebanon’s Bradley Ellis, who returned it 56 yards for a touchdown.

After the game, Mercer was named the North’s most outstanding defensive back.

The game was an exhibition, but you couldn’t tell by the play on the field. North’s Israel Green of Trotwood-Madison pounded the ball up the middle with abandon but was taken out after suffering an ankle injury in the second quarter. The physical play continued late into in the second half, when both teams were called for personal fouls.

“Tempers flare,” McCrory said. “You get a bunch of athletes like this together, noboldy wants to lose, especially with a bunch this competitive.”

With the game over, and his high school career complete, McCrory is headed to Dartmouth, where he will play football in the Ivy League next year. His All-Star experience will be one he won’t forget.

“It’s been great to put the pads on again,” McCrory said.

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