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A Half-Century Of Ohio Valley Gridiron Greatness

Annual Season Preview Released Today

Photo by Scott McCloskey This year’s cover photo for the annual football preview features Ohio Valley “Gridiron Greats” from the past 50 years to mark the publication’s 50th anniversary. From left are Quincy Wilson, Weir High; Mark Cisar, Magnolia High; Reno Saccoccia, Steubenville High; Dan Monteroso, St. Clairsville High; and Lance Mehl, Bellaire High.

WHEELING — Quincy Wilson. Mark Cisar. Reno Saccoccia. Dan Monteroso. Lance Mehl.

These five Ohio Valley football legends grace the cover of our annual football preview, which can be found inside today’s newspaper. This year’s section, called “Gridiron Greats,” marks the 50th consecutive year our football preview has informed local readers about their favorite teams. It’s one for the gridiron archives.

The five local legends each were selected to represent a different decade since our publication’s inception in 1968.

∫ Mehl, a Bellaire High standout, represents the period from 1968-77.

∫ Saccoccia, arguably the best coach to grace the area’s sidelines during his tenure at Steubenville High School, represents the late 1970s through 1987.

∫ Cisar, a two-time Kennedy Award winner as West Virginia’s top high school player, represents the late 1980s through 1997.

∫ Wilson, a fellow Kennedy Award winner from Weir High, is next, marking the late 1990s through 2007.

∫ Monteroso, a 2013 St. Clairsville High School graduate, rounds out the group.

The publication comes out as King Football makes his emergence tonight with games at West Liberty University featuring Brooke vs. Wheeling Park and at Martins Ferry, where Buckeye Local pays a visit against the homestanding Purple Riders.

To mark our 50th anniversary, we’ve also included an all-time top 50 Ohio Valley players of the past 50 years, along with a 50-year team of the area’s best offensive threats and defensive stoppers. Retired sports editors Doug Huff and Don Clegg joined with Executive Sports Editor Bubba Kapral, The Intelligencer’s Sports Editor Josh Strope and Times Leader Sports Editor Seth Staskey to pick the squads.

This year’s cover shot was taken at a most appropriate venue — the OVAC Hall of Fame Museum at WesBanco Arena. Wilson, Cisar, Monteroso and Mehl all were unanimous selections to our top 50 players of the past 50 years, with Saccoccia joining them as coach.

But this year’s preview edition is more than just taking a trip down memory lane. There is also plenty of focus on our current group of prep and college stars, including every OVAC team, Tyler Consolidated, West Liberty, Bethany, West Virginia, Ohio State and more.

This season begins with plenty of questions.

Can Steubenville get over the hump after falling in two straight title game appearances? Wheeling Park and Wheeling Central looked primed for a run at a state championship. Can they do it? Can Cameron or River repeat their 10-0 seasons from a year ago and make it back to the playoffs? Who will be the surprise team and who was hit hardest by graduation?

The valley is filled with some of the top players in both states such as Wheeling Park’s Cross Wilkinson, River’s Lukas Isaly, Cameron’s Colby Brown, Martins Ferry’s Dalton Hoover and Magnolia’s Brooks Parsons, just to name a few.

On the college side, is this the West Virginia team that will win its first Big 12 title? Is Ohio State a lock for the College Football Playoff? Will West Liberty find a way to win those close games? Will Notre Dame bounce back from a lackluster season?

While these questions won’t be answered today, our football preview will give you everything you need to know about your favorite team before it takes the field.

Enjoy.

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