By DAVE HANNEMAN
Noah Furbush won’t be on one of charter buses heading back to Michigan following Saturday’s Border Classic All-Star game at Donnell Stadium.
But the big linebacker from Kenton won’t be far behind.
“Saturday I’ll be playing against Michigan. Next Saturday I’ll be at Michigan. It is kind of a conflict,” Furbush said Wednesday just before the first scheduled practice for the Ohio all-star team.
Michigan won the recruiting battle for Furbush, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound linebacker who was Ohio’s Division IV Defensive Player of the Year following the 2013 season. Furbush had 124 total tackles, 30 of them for losses, his senior year, and 239 tackles (43 for losses) during his prep career.
Furbush admitted he was impressed by the caliber of the athletes representing both states in the first-ever Ohio-Michigan Border Classic. And he was looking forward to matching up with elite players from up north.
“I’ve been looking around and I see a lot of talented kids here, a lot of big kids, a lot of fast kids, the whole nine yards,” Furbush said.
“There are a lot of great football players here and it’s going to a great game to watch, that’s for sure. For me, it’s a great opportunity to represent Kenton, my home town, and I’m honored to be part of this thing.”
PACK OF WILDCATS: Furbush is one of three Ohio all-star players from a Kenton team that went 13-1 last season and fell 21-20 to Clinton Massie in the Division IV state semifinals. The other Wildcats on the roster are record-setting quarterback Grant Sherman and receiver Justin Sawmiller.
Sherman continued Kenton’s legacy of record-setting quarterbacks. The 6-6, 200-pound University of Toledo commit threw for 5,920 yards and 65 touchdowns last season, making him No. 2 on Ohio’s all-time list for passing yards in a single season. The other four spots in the all-time top five belong to Ben Mauk (6,540 in 2002, 5,770 in 2001) and current Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk (5,670 in 2010, 5,413 in 2011).
Sherman is also fifth on Ohio’s all-time list for yards (10,895) and touchdown passes (121) in a career.
Sawmiller’s records extend well beyond the state border. A 6-1, 185-pounder who will play college ball at Ashland, Sawmiller caught 445 passes during his Kenton career for 6,277 yards and 59 touchdowns. According to records compiled by the National Federation of State High School Associations, Sawmiller’s career receptions rank first and his TD catches second on the all-time national lists.
THANK GOD & GREYHOUND: By the time Michigan’s all-star team arrived in Findlay on Wednesday, it had already been a long day for the group.
“Our first stop was at East Kentwood High School at 5:30 a.m.,” Michigan team coach Mike Zdebski said of a cross-state journey to pick up the players.
“Our second stop was at Okemos High School, at 6:30 a.m. and final stop was at Farmington High School at 7:30 a.m.
“Then we headed down here.
“Fortunately, we had those charter buses.”
OPPOSING TEAMMATES: Austin Labus and Isiah Moore will be on opposite sidelines on Saturday, but on the same sideline this fall. Eventually, they may be on the same line, period.
Labus is a 6-6, 300-pound lineman out of Portage Northern High School in Michigan. Moore is a 6-3, 280-pound lineman from Tiffin Columbian. Both will play their college ball at Bowling Green State University this fall.
THE FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT — Michigan will host the Border Classic All-Star game in 2015. Beyond that, no commitment or contracts have been made. This year and next will serve as a proving ground for the inter-state matchup. It would seem, though, that the matchup has the elite-player appeal and the built-in rivalry factor to be a showcase for both states for years to come.
By DAVE HANNEMAN