WHEELING - If we were choosing sides, I'd take Shadyside's Matt Hammond and Steubenville's William Houst and allow you to select your entire team before I made another pick. Pile up all the offensive weapons you desire, but know one very important thing: your quarterback won't have time to get them the ball.
Just ask West Virginia after Sunday night's Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic at Wheeling Island Stadium, which was won by the Buckeyes in dominating fashion, 33-14.
Boo Lathon had one catch for 3 yards.
Jeff Hissam had one catch for 8 yards.
Tim Faulkner had 27 yards on five touches.
Gino Bianconi had 43 yards on seven touches.
The defense limited West Virginia to 99 yards of offense and just six first downs. Apparently the Buckeyes heard more than they could stomach about the Mountaineers' two-game winning streak in the series coming in.
Houst fought off routine double teams, and even played a little bit as a devastating fullback. Hammond was unstoppable on one end, closing out W.Va. with one final sack with 27 seconds remaining.
Now You Know
Dashaun Lewis led the OVAC in rushing last season, but the guess here is that few actually knew about him coming into this game. Lewis attended Cambridge, which doesn't get a lot of exposure in our part of the Ohio Valley.
Well, people know about Lewis now after he ran around and through the Mountaineers to the tune of 23 carries for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
''I tried to do my best and keep my composure,'' Lewis said. ''The line was amazing.
''They read their keys and got their blocks out. They got their pull and I just followed them.
''They are amazing blockers and I am glad to call them my linemen.''
So too is Buckeye Local's Josten Dear, the game's Most Valuable Player after carrying 24 times for 152 yards and a score. All told, Ohio racked up 317 yards on the ground.
Giving Them the Boot
Hidden yardage in football always means a lot. Like for instance in the kick return game where West Virginia, at least on paper, seemed to have an advantage with guys like Bianconi and Hissam back deep.
Martins Ferry's Richie Padyjasek turned that into advantage Ohio. The Mountaineers got to return just a pair of kicks as Padyjasek routinely put the football in the end zone.
All Points Local
West Virginia scored 14 points, not one of which came from someone outside Ohio County. Wheeling Central's Erik Gompers hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass, Wheeling Park's Vondel Bell returned an interception 32 yards for a score, and the Patriots' Matt Carter added the extra points on both.
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net