WASHINGTONVILLE, OH (WYTV)-Salem’s coach Ron Johnson is use to coaching in big games. In his four years as a head coach at Canton McKinley he led his team against quality opponents such as Massillon along with qualifying for the playoffs in each of those four years. Last year he helped lead the Quakers to a 10-2 record and become a regional semi-finalist in the playoffs.
On June 30th, Johnson will get the opportunity to coach the Ohio team in the 37th annual Penn-Ohio State Line Classic All-Star Game at Springfield’s Community Stadium. Johnson was selected as the coach of the year by the Quad County Coaches Association to receive the honor.
“I’ve coached in one in Cleveland, one down in the Miami Valley, and the national all-star game in Tampa (FL). Everyone (of these games) are different because you have a different pool of kids, but at the same time they are all the same because it’s how quickly you can bring guys together to play together as one team,” Johnson explained.
Johnson will try to stop a three game losing streak the Buckeyes have in the series. The Ohio squad last won in this series back in 2012, a 19-7 decision in a game that was also played at Springfield High School.
“This is to represent Ohio,” Johnson said of its importance. “To represent our communities which we take a lot of pride in. It’s a chance for guys who beat the dog out of each other for four years to now come together as one team and it’s going to be a lot fun and exciting to see.”
“The best thing about these (all-star games) is that you have the most talented kids. They all know how to play football, they are all good fundamentally. And they all have a good sense of being a part of a team. The challenges are big, but they are not as great as you would think because we have the best of the best.”
“The rules of the game limit you quite a bit,” Johnson added. The inherent rules of what the Ohio-Penn game is about. But we have assembled a staff with a lot of different philosophies and strengths that they do and we can take those talents and skills and mold them into an offense. This is going to be unique offensive scheme in that I don’t think any of us have run because it’s going to be a kind of combination of all that fits the talent that we have.”
“He has built the program back up in Salem, they were in the playoffs this year,” Ohio director Larry Baughman remarked about Johnson. “He is very organized. Some coaches I’ve worked with are really good with that.”
Baughman added that the Ohio team will have 36 members participate in the contest, representing 18 schools in the Quad County Association. There are currently 21 members of the association. Baughman said a few schools unfortunately did not submit players for consideration in the game. Practice for the game will begin on June 20th at East Palestine High School.
The game will also award six, five hundred dollar scholarships to member players as part of the festivities. Those scholarships will be announced at halftime of the game.
The game will be played on Thursday June 30th with player introductions beginning at 6:30pm with kickoff scheduled at 7:00pm. This is the third year in the series that the game will take place at Springfield.