Like Father, Like Son
Six all-stars are following in their dads’ footsteps
By CODY TOMER
BETHANY — The love of football starts for many at a young age.
Whether it’s playing backyard football with friends or watching Monday Night Football with dad, the game quickly becomes a tradition that is passed down from generation to generation.
Such is the case during this year’s 75th Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Game.
Six total all-stars are following in their fathers’ footsteps of playing in the annual event as Wheeling Park QB Beau Heller, Magnolia RB/LB Silas McKeever, Steubenville Catholic QB Ryan Gorman, River WR/DB Jake Rose and St. Clairsville DE Reese Skaggs and h-back Will Balgo will keep the family tradition alive Saturday inside Wheeling Island Stadium.
“It was good news when I found out I was playing in the game,” Heller said. “My dad was just talking to me about it and how to enjoy it. It’s also fun to be up here with all of my friends I played with my whole life one last time.”
Heller’s father, Kevin, played in the 1991 contest.
Also playing in the 1991 game was Casey Rose, the father of Jake Rose and the uncle of LB Carter Dennis, two cousins who are teammates from River on this year’s Ohio squad. Their uncle Kyle Rose also played in the game in 1990.
“It’s an honor to continue playing in this game and to keep the family name in the game,” Jake Rose said. “I’ve heard stories from everyone I’ve talked to and about how good those teams were.”
Eric McKeever recovered an onside kick and intercepted a pass in the 1996 game and his son will be looking to leave his mark on the contest, as well.
“He said that he really enjoyed it,” Silas McKeever said of his dad. “I’m excited for it, too. It’s been a good time so far here at practice and it’s pretty cool that I can carry on the tradition.”
Ted Gorman, the current principal of Steubenville High School, will get to watch his son take the field in an Ohio uniform after he played in the 1986 game.
“It’s really special when you see that invitation in the mail,” Ryan Gorman said. “Having your dad in it is also an honor and a privilege to carry on his tradition and our family name.”
Ryan Gorman also takes great pride in the logo on his helmet and the name on the front of the jersey.
“Representing Steubenville Catholic is also definitely going to be an honor,” he said. “We have a lot of guys out here and we’re making a lot of good relationships. We want to get this win really badly.”
Also suiting up in the 1986 game was Dan Balgo, the father of Will Balgo.
“My dad, uncle and a couple of my mom’s siblings played in this game,” Will Balgo said. “It’s awesome representing their names. Whenever I go to family functions, they always give you that story.”
St. Clairsville teammate Reese Skaggs will be aiming to join his father Walt, who was on the winning team in 1987, in the win column.
“My dad said that his team won so we have to win,” Reese Skaggs said. “My brother lost when he played in this game and I don’t want to be on that side of the ball. I want to have the higher edge in the family. I was in seventh grade when my brother played and that’s when I said ‘I have to play in the all-star game, too.’ Now, here we are.”
Other players on the roster who have had relatives play in the all-star game include John Marshall running back Alex Burton (cousin C.J. Williams in 2011), Wheeling Central offensive lineman Spencer Helms (cousins Joel Griffin in 2014, Trey Duffy in 1981 and Thor Duffy in 2018), and running back Jordan Waterhouse (uncles Greg Kloeppner in 1979 and Jerry Ames in 1993) and Weir wide receiver Gage Reitter (grandfather Jaye Reitter in 1965, cousin Carl Foder Jr. in 1982, uncle A.J. Twardoski in 2005, brother Reed Reitter in 2019 and cousin Jake McCoy in 2019).
On the Ohio side, Monroe Central lineman Garet Cramer (uncle Jeremy Cramer in 1997 and uncle Eric Cramer in 1998), Toronto’s Garrett Dozier (brother Austyn Dozier in 2016), Shadyside RB/LB Jacob Visnic (uncle Brian Hammond in 1993), Caldwell defensive lineman Tim Wehr (cousin Aaron Smith in 1993) and Cambridge offensive tackle Brock Valentine (brother Trent Valentine in 2019) all continue to carry on the family name.