Sweeney and Ferry given a second chance in Penn-Ohio


Both Sweeney and Ferry suffered season ending injuries in 2018

GREENFORD, Ohio (WKBN) – Sometimes in life, you get a second chance.  For standout tailback and defensive backs in Lisbon’s Justin Sweeney, and Leetonia’s Roman Ferry, they were both given a second chance to attempt to play football one more time in the Penn-Ohio Game on Wednesday.

Sweeney, and the entire Blue Devils football team suffered a devastating blow in just the second game of the 2018 football season when Justin suffered an ACL tear in their game with Mineral Ridge.  The injury ended what was a promising season not only for Justin but it also took away one of the Devils best offensive weapons.

“It’s always tough,” Sweeney said of the abrupt end to his senior season.  “I love football, I always have since I was a little kid.  And you never know when it could be taken away from you.”

“It got taken away from me and my goal was to just come back stronger and see what I can do,” Sweeney added.  “I was blessed to be able to play in the Penn-Ohio Game.”

But before the opportunity to come back and play in the Penn-Ohio game, Sweeney fought back to play his senior season on the hardwood.  In the process, he would set the Lisbon Blue Devil career scoring record in basketball.  Sweeney will continue that basketball career this winter at Westminster, making the Penn-Ohio Classic a final game in his football career.

“I came back in two and a half months,” Sweeney explained.  “I don’t think anybody has ever done that.  My goal was just to get back and finish my high school career.”

Sweeney is one of two players on the Ohio squad that were trying to come back from a serious injury as Leetonia’s Roman Ferry was also selected to the team, but unfortunately, Ferry was not given medical clearance to participate in the contest.

“I was disappointed not being cleared for the game,” Ferry remarked.  “I know a lot of the guys on the team and it would have been nice to have shared the field as teammates instead of opponents.”

Ferry started off the 2018 football season much like Sweeney, providing a huge spark to the Bears team, leading them to a 3-0 start.  But an ACL tear in the third game of the year against Chalker slowed him and following a gallant attempt to play against arch-rival Columbiana in week four, Ferry was forced to shut down his senior season.

“Unfortunately, I did tear my ACL in week three.  I didn’t know it at the time so I tried to play the next week.  But after a few plays, I knew something was wrong,” Ferry recalled from last season.  “Missing the last six games of the season was probably the hardest thing I had to do in my life thus far.  We were off to such a great start and I wanted to make the playoffs at least once in my career.  Everyone dreams of that their senior year.  The last run around at all the schools you’ve played against since you were kids. It was really hard to watch.”

“It’s awesome, it’s an honor,” Sweeney remarked about being selected to the all-star team.  “Now I just have to come out here and play my game and do what I do and leave the injury in the past.”

“I’ve grown up with all these guys since we were little kids,” he reflected on his Ohio teammates.  “We’ve had battles, gone against each other.  But we’re family and we’re about to go out and hopefully beat Pennsylvania.  I’m going to play with my guys and do what we do.”

“I’m happy for Justin and all his accomplishments in his senior year, especially after the injury,” Ferry said about his Ohio teammate.  “We talked a lot about our injuries.  It’s always nice talking to someone going through the same problem.  I look forward to whatever happens next.  Beat Penn!”

“I got blessed by one more opportunity to play a game (of football),” Sweeney said.  “You just can’t beat it!”

It will be a bitter-sweet experience for Sweeney as he enjoys his last football game, while a disappointed Ferry will, unfortunately, have to watch one more game from the sidelines.  Kickoff from Reeves Stadium at Geneva College is set for 7:00 PM.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on WKBN.com