OVAC All-Stars Build Legacy

WHEELING – There has been a lot of talk this week about whether or not the OVAC All-Star game still matters.

At WesBanco Arena where the 1964 All-Star team held its reunion Tuesday, there was no doubt.

It came out in a letter written by Lynn Dodd, who represented Wellsburg in the game.

Dodd, physically unable to attend the reunion, said in the letter, “Tell the guys I’m sorry I lost the game.”

Dodd was a center for the West Virginia squad and, during a punt in the second half, snapped the ball overtop of the punter’s head and through the back of the end zone for the game’s only points.

When OVAC Executive Secretary/Treasurer Tom Rataiczak read the letter to the dozen members in attendance, they laughed. After 50 years Dodd’s mishap serves as their last high school memory. It cemented their legacy in OVAC history.

Legacy was a big topic at the reunion. The class of 1964 is the first to have a true 50th anniversary celebrated at the annual Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game, which will be held Sunday evening with a 7:15 kickoff at Wheeling Island Stadium. In past years, two classes have been celebrated at the game, but in 1963, no All-Star game was played.

“It’s funny,” said Jay Duffy, who was named MVP of the Mountaineers squad. “You walk in and see all these faces and it comes back. I was amazed when I came in and recognized all these faces.”

Duffy, a Wheeling Central graduate, attended the luncheon with his wife Kathy, also a Central grad.

“Jerry Cappiccie went to Central with me,” Duffy said. ”This was the first time I saw him in a while. I keep touch through other people. They run in to so-and-so and they say to tell you hi. That type of thing.”

A lot has changed since the ’64 All-Star game.

When the Buckeyes and Mountaineers went to camp, they slept in cots in the Cadiz gym where the two week camp was held. The school each of the respective head coaches were from brought their own cheerleaders and there was no band.

Another big change, according to Duffy, is how the present day offenses move the ball.

“The biggest thing is the offenses are so open,” he said. ”I think we had two passes and I threw one of them as a half back. We didn’t pass that much in the All-Star game.

“You have better skill development these days. We learned about playing in play grounds and fields. There’s a lot of skilled coaches now and I think you can see it in the ball players. Of course, they’re in better physical shape for their positions. That’s a big one, too.”

Members of the 1964 team, including Ohio coach Dan McGrew, the first living coach to attend the game, will be honored on the field during the first media timeout of the game.