All-Star Hampton Aims To Be Ahead of OVAC Pack
WHEELING -For most of the players involved in the OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game, preparations do not begin until they report to camp at Bethany College.
Not for West Virginia receiver Lavonte Hampton.
His older brother, L.A., made sure of that.
See, L.A., the Mountaineers receivers coach, played in the game in 2008 after capping off a stellar career at Bishop Donahue.
”He had one touchdown in it,” Lavonte said. ”I remember that because I was there. It was right in front of me.”
Unfortunately for the older Hampton, his touchdown was the only score for the Mountaineers as Ohio won the game 31-7. He’s trying to make sure his brother won’t suffer the same fate.
”It was heartbreaking,” L.A. said of the loss. ”I see this year’s game as more important than when I played. I’m looking for a little bit of revenge.”
Perhaps that’s why Lavonte senses a little more pressure from his older brother during practice.
”I think he’s on my back a little more than anyone else,” Lavonte jokingly said, ”but I know he does that just to make me better in the long run.”
The long run for Lavonte will begin shortly after the all-star game is played as he will begin training camp at Bethany where he will play receiver this fall.
”I tell everyone where everything is on campus because I’ve been up there multiple times,” he said. ”So they just kinda follow me and I lead the way.”
The same can be said about his career for the Bishops, one that brought back memories of his brother’s six years prior. Not that the brothers compare themselves. They leave that for everyone else.
”They say stats don’t lie and I got those,” Lavonte said with a grin.
The past week has been a new experience for both Hamptons.
While L.A. went through it before, he says he sees things a lot differently this time around.
”I remember trying to meet a few people at a time so I could meet everybody but it was so hard,” he said. ”But being a coach, you have to meet everybody. I got to know everybody and where they’re from and a little bit about them rather than just their name.
”I actually talk to some of the kids I was in the game with more than the people I went to high school with.”
For Lavonte, he’s been busy turning old enemies into new friends.
”I’ve connected with plenty of kids from other schools, but the ones that stand out to me is C. J. Burch and Derek Yocke just because I’ve played against them for four years,” he said. ”They’re from our rival school (Wheeling Central), so it was different meeting them and being on the same side. It’s been a fun experience.”
The all-star experience for both brothers will come to an end Sunday night when the 69th Annual game is played at Wheeling Island Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m.
”It’s been amazing,” L.A. said of the past week. ”I really couldn’t ask for anything better. Coaching your brother … I’m at a loss for words. I can’t really think of anything I’d rather do than be up here with him.”