Reds beat Blues 38-14 in Columbus Area All-Star Football game
Daizhon Cox isn’t sure he’ll have another chance to put on his shoulder pads or fasten his helmet chin strap. The 6-foot-1, 250-pound defensive lineman has different plans for his future.
But Cox got one last chance to shine on a high school football field in the Central District All-Star Game. He recovered a fumble and took 68 yards for a touchdown, helping Team Red to a 38-14 victory over Team Blue on June 18 at Harvest Prep.
Dublin Scioto blue quarterback Amare Jenkins stumbled trying to avoid Cox and the pass rush, dropping the ball along the way. It was the third turnover in as many possessions as the Reds built a 16-0 lead, which they took at half-time.
“I tracked my progress and sat down and the ball was right there,” Cox said. “I was trying to run as fast as possible. I knew I had people blocking for me and I knew the quarterback wasn’t going to catch me because a lot of times quarterbacks don’t like to chase you. I believed in my head that I could do it and I did.
Cox, a graduate of Columbus South, will attend Ohio State, where he will major in public policy with a minor in political science.
“A future mayor,” Cox said with a smile.
He hopes to make his way with the club team, but nothing is decided.
“I’m going to OSU on a college scholarship,” said Cox, who was named Defensive Player of the Game for the Reds. “Getting that touchdown meant a lot to me because it was maybe the last time I played football. I hope to get into the club team. The coaches came and watched, so we’ll see.
For Reds quarterback Tyler Love, who threw three touchdown passes, the game was the culmination of a long journey through his high school career.
Love, named attacking player of the game for the Reds, nearly gave up after his first year.
“My freshman year, I didn’t really think I was going to make it,” the Teays Valley graduate said. “I was very small. I was really small. So, I started bulking up as much as possible and got to where I wanted to be.
Love found Columbus East’s Ishmael Spann for two touchdowns, both on short passes. Spann took the first 46 yards to give the Reds an 8-0 lead in the first quarter. He added a 13-yard catch-and-run early in the fourth to make it 24-8.
Red added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard run by Olando Kamara of Pickerington Central and a 65-yard screen pass from Love to Taron Biles-Walker of Whitehall-Yearling.
Northland’s Rayvon Ivery had a scoop and 30-yard score in the third quarter to cut Blue’s deficit to 16-8, and New Albany’s Jadyn Garnes added a 5-yard touchdown run late in the fourth.
“It was all about hard work and dedication,” said Ivery, a linebacker. “I just wanted that touchdown. I needed to get it. I wanted to get us back in the game, so we could have that momentum.
The two were the defensive and attacking players of the game, respectively, for Les Bleues.
For game organizer Maurice “Jumbo” Harrell, it was the culmination of a two-year wait due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a big crowd here,” said Harrell, who has run the event since 2013. “I congratulate the kids. They came to practice every day in record heat. Now they’re part of the family. Central District All-Star.