WHEELING - If there was one play that epitomized Sunday night's Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Football Charity Classic, it was one that came midway through the third quarter.
Faced with a fourth-and-2 at the West Virginia 31, Ohio's Josten Dear barreled his way for a first down on a tremendous second effort.
The Buckeyes took the lead for good five plays later and went on to drub the Mountaineers, 33-14, before a packed house at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Meadowbrook’s Eric Black, right, drags down Wheeling Park quarterback Lee Peluchette during action Sunday in the Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic.
Dear, a Buckeye Local product, finished with 152 yards and a score on 24 carries en route to being named the game's Most Valuable Player as Ohio snapped West Virginia's two-game winning streak in the series.
Cambridge's Dashaun Lewis added 114 yards and three touchdowns of his own to form a two-headed rushing monster that West Virginia had no answer for.
''That was our biggest fear that they'd sit there and pound those two backs at us,'' West Virginia and Weirton Madonna coach Doug Taylor said. ''We've been saying all week they had the size advantage and those two are great backs.
''My hats off to them. But our kids played tough until the end.''
Lewis alone had a many carries (23) as the Mountaineers did. And along with Dear, Ohio coach Eric Schumacher found a formula for success right away.
''We didn't want to fix anything that wasn't broke,'' he said. ''Once we got going early we stuck with it. It was a night to remember for our offensive backs and our offensive line.''
Ohio ran the ball a staggering 56 times, while quarterbacks Cole Smelley and David Kemp only attempted 13 passes. Smelley gave Ohio all of its 39 yards through the air, while adding 36 rushing yards of his own.
''Coming out we hit them in the mouth and kept going,'' Schumacher said.
Dear scored his only touchdown as the first quarter ran down. And when Lewis scampered in from a yard out early in the second, Ohio had a 13-0 advantage.
The Mountaineers got back into the game thanks to a couple of miscues.
The first came midway through the second when East Liverpool's Marky Thompkins muffed a punt deep in Ohio territory. That mistake resulted in a 17-yard strike from John Marshall's Aaron Fonner to Wheeling Central's Erik Gompers.
Three plays later, Indian Creek quarterback Kemp was picked off by Wheeling Park's Vondel Bell, who raced 32 yards for a score. The Patriots' Matt Carter nailed the extra-point to give West Virginia a 14-13 lead and the momentum going into halftime.
''We told them to settle down,'' Schumacher said. ''We knew we were playing well on both sides of the ball and if it wasn't for two mistakes we'd be sitting pretty.
''But give them credit. They took advantage of the turnovers and took that momentum into halftime. We did a good job of getting it back in the third.''
Did they ever.
After making West Virginia punt in four plays, the Buckeyes marched 14 plays to take the lead for good. Lewis and Dear carried the ball a combined 12 of the 14 plays on the drive, which Lewis culminated with a 1-yard run. The conversion run failed, but Ohio held a 19-14 lead.
While the Buckeyes' offense was cranking, so was it's defense. West Virginia didn't score in the second half and was limited to 99 total yards.
''We just never got into an offensive rhythm all night and it really hurt us in the second half,'' Taylor said.
Fonner finished with 39 passing yards for West Virginia, while Brooke's Timmy Faulkner was the team's leading rusher with 28.
''We were a bunch of ball hawks,'' Schumacher said. ''(The defense) did everything well. They had a few really talented athletes and we were able to cover them pretty well and that was the one thing that concerned us.''
The victory was the first for Schumacher as a varsity coach.
''It's a win for me but more than anything else it's a win for the kids,'' he said. ''It's an all-star game and these are some memories they'll have for the rest of their lives.
''We wanted those memories to be pleasant ones and fortunately we played well and were able to get the win.''