Tim Nichols has had some talented football teams at Liberty-Benton.
But the team he’ll be coaching on April 28 just might force him to add some X’s and O’s to the play book.
Nichols will have some of the top football players in the state to work with when the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association holds its 73rd annual North South Classic all-star game at Massillon Washington’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
The day will feature two games, with Ohio’s top Division IV, V, VI and VII seniors taking the field at noon, and the senior all-stars from the Division I, II and III schools, including Findlay’s Cam Dillon, squaring off at 4 p.m.
Nichols, who has amassed a 106-25 record in 11 seasons as Liberty-Benton’s head coach, will have a couple of familiar faces on his team with L-B seniors Austin May and A.J. Dobbins making the North roster. Both were first-team all-Ohio standouts who helped L-B reach the Division VI state semifinals. May quarterbacked the team, passing for 2,378 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushing for 854 yards and another 14 scores. A two-way starter, Dobbins was not only the Blanchard Valley Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year, but the BVC Defensive Player of the Year as well after registering 27 tackles for losses among his 132 total stops.
Also playing for the North all-stars in the Division IV-V-VI-VII game will be Hopewell-Loudon’s Alec Bower and Patrick Henry’s Damian Lanzer. Like Dobbins, both were two-way starters for their teams, with Bower earning BVC Defensive Lineman of the Year honors for his 27 tackles for losses. Lanzer was also a two-way tackle for Patrick Henry, earning all-Northwest Ohio Athletic League honors on the offensive side of the ball at a guard position.
A two-time all-Ohio selection who will attend Columbia University to play football, Dillon had 45.5 total tackles last season, including team highs in tackles for loss (11.5) and sacks (5).
First held in 1946, the Ohio North South Classic is the nation’s oldest-running high school football all-star game. Tickets for the events are $10 and includes admission to both games. Tickets can be purchased online at massillontigersathletics.org (direct link https://ticketracker.com/store?schoolId=1360&departmentId=190), or at the gates on game day.