Rosters Set For OVAC All-Star Football Game
By SETH STASKEY
For The News-Register
WHEELING – There are exactly six weeks until ‘King Football’ makes its return to the Ohio Valley.
The unofficial kickoff to the 2014 season comes on Sunday, July 27th when the grid stars of Ohio and West Virginia suit up in the 69th annual Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic at Wheeling Island Stadium.
The coaches – Jose Davis (Ohio) and B.J. Depew (West Virginia) – have decided who will join them in five weeks when camp opens at Bethany College.
Due to a bevy of reasons. both coaches have had to adjust their rosters from the original they submitted to Game Director Bob Koch in the spring.
Both coaching staffs are limited to 32 players and a kicker. Both are also encouraged to represent as many of the member schools as possible and there are limitations on how many each school can have.
“It’s definitely tough choosing this (team),” Davis said. “When you start crunching numbers and looking at guys, you know you’re going to have to leave off kids who are deserving.”
All told, Ohio has 20 schools represented and eight of those have multiple players on the team.
When drafting his team, Davis and his coaching staff started in the trenches.
“We had to find guys who will fit our system, but we had to make sure we had enough linemen because you have to be good up front in this game,” Davis said. “You can piece those guys together and then piece the outside.”
Davis, who earned the right to coach the game after leading Bellaire to the OVAC Class 3A title, took the maximum four Big Reds to join him in the game.
Included are Wyatt Back, Brendon Ross, Nick Patrone and Kenny Hess.
Of the Ohio roster, 20 of the players Davis either coached or coached against during his tenure with the Big Reds.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to get some of the best players around together and put them into some of the things we do and see how it works out,” Davis said.
Depew, meanwhile, continued the growing trend of the West Virginia schools. He loaded up with big-school players first and foremost.
“We took a lot of time with these selections,” Depew said. “There were a lot of deserving kids in the state of West Virginia this year, in our opinion. There’s a very good talent pool to go looking through, so we tried to do our best to find the right schools for offensive and defensive linemen and right schools for skill positions.”
Depew was the top West Virginia finisher in Class 3A in the OVAC this season, earning him the nod to guide the Mountain State.
He, like Davis, chose four of his own players, including Jameson Murray, Reno Colaianni, Benton Nanners and Austin Whipkey.
“I am happy to be able to take four of my own guys,” Depew said.
Taking it a step further, Depew chose 12 of his players who played in the City of Wheeling during the regular season.
“We tried to represent Wheeling well,” Depew said. “We tried to select the best possible team to win the game, but there’s also so much more to this game than just the outcome on that Sunday night. It’s a special experience for these kids, so we wanted to make sure we had a good group of kids, who were going to get along and make the entire week enjoyable.”