Patriots’ Phillips Already an All-Star

WHEELING – Seems like Wheeling Park quarterback Zach Phillips has gotten himself into an authentic all-star conundrum.

He is one of the few West Virginia all-stars in the Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Football Game Sunday at Wheeling Island Stadium to have already played in one all-star game.

Phillips also participated in the North-South All-Star Classic in Charleston on June 21.

While his North team lost that contest 46-26 to the South, Phillips acquitted himself nicely, completing 19 of 27 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns. He was named the North MVP.

Of course, it should come as no surprise.

Those numbers merely mimicked the season he had in helping guide the Patriots to an 11-2 record and a berth in the Class AAA semifinals, where they lost to Huntington.

Phillips completed 116 of 189 passes for 1,974 yards with 22 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Now the trick is to do it again.

“Well, anything less (than an MVP Award) will look like a failure,” Phillips said, laughing at the thought.

“I had a great week down there in Charleston. I made a lot of friends. I wanted to come out and show the writers and reporters in the south that Wheeling Park puts out some good players. I wanted to represent the school and the town and when they announced the award, it was the culmination of a really good week.”

The OVAC game is another chance to have a really good week before he and high school teammates Geremy Paige and Matt Hackathorn all report to Gannon University to begin their collegiate careers.

Phillips said the week down south will pay dividends this week, as West Virginia prepares to take on the OVAC stars from Ohio.

“Playing in Triple A, you see a lot of fast players,” Phillips said. “But down there in Charleston, everyone on the South squad was fast. The guys in our camp were fast. It was all about speed and this game will be the same. These guys are all stars and there is a reason they are here.”

Winning the game is job one.

“We have come together well,” Phillips said. “We’re picking up the offense. There are a lot of things we can do. We just want to do enough to win the game.”

The West Virginia OVAC stars are coached by Linsly’s B.J. Depew, who has the luxury of having his own quarterback, Jameson Murray, in the game.

He has been able to use Murray at several different positions in practice to acclimate Phillips and the other team’s quarterback, Magnolia’s Jacob Brill, the scheme they will run. Most likely, Brill will play mostly on defense.

“The great part about these all-star games is that these guys are not only great athletes, but they are smart,” Depew said. “Jameson is such a great athlete, very versatile, so we can use him at other positions and work with Zach and Jacob on the offense.”

Phillips is looking forward to the rest of the week, before leaving for Gannon Aug. 13.

“The great thing about this week, or any all-star game, is the guys you are playing with,” Phillips said. “Whether it is guys from University, Morgantown, Brooke or JM, it’s guys you are used to seeing on film. You watch them and say, ‘OK, this is how we are going to attack them. You see them right there on film. And now, we are side by side, going out there saying ‘Let’s do this.’ It’s the greatest part of the week. All the friends you make.”

Well, that and potentially winning an MVP Award.

It’s been done before.