The rosters are in place and, barring the unforeseen, there will be an OVAC All-Star Rudy Mumley Charity Football Classic this summer.
After seeing the 2020 game canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual summer show at Wheeling Island Stadium is set to return on July 24 with the kick-off scheduled at 7:15 p.m.
Eric Huck of Fort Frye and BJ Depew of Linsly will be head coaches for Ohio and West Virginia, respectively. Both coaches have finalized their rosters and are aiming for the camp, which will open at Bethany College on July 18.
Both coaches have had a bit more flexibility in their selections this year as the number of places on the list has risen to 37 from the usual 33.
According to game director Dirk Fitch, the decision was made for increased flexibility with COVID-19 still of concern. On top of that, it could save coaches having to spend a lot of time jostling each other later this summer if a player retires.
“The expansion of the list is definitely a new wrinkle,” Said Depew. “It’s good for the kids who have lost so much in the past 15 months. It’s great that this game is back and that includes every aspect of the game. I’m really happy for the Ohio Valley to have it all going. “
Along with the idea of having additional bodies for COVID, Huck is excited as it creates more depth on the pitch as he hopes to use the platoons as much as possible.
“Really when you look at it you have 16 players for each side of the ball so the extra guys are good for that depth,” Huck said. “I was delighted to choose four other guys.”
Both coaches agreed that giving the four additional players, by state, the opportunity to participate was exciting in itself.
“There are a lot of good talent to choose from and it’s still hard to narrow it down,” Huck said. “It’s just a big relief that it looks like the game is happening. I know last summer was a bummer for the kids (of the class of 2020) to have this opportunity to escape, but it’s good that these (older people) have the opportunity.
In total, 10 schools received several offers.
Huck chose the maximum of five players from his own caddy roster. Those who accept Fort Frye’s offer are Brian Adkins, Jaymison Baker, Dylan Hart, Braden Medley and Brady Kutscherenko.
“Each of these kids (from Fort Frye) really deserves it,” Huck said. “A lot of them started since they were freshmen and sophomores and helped us win a lot of great games, so having one last chance to coach these kids is exciting.
For the first time, the OVAC game will feature players from New Philadelphia.
The Quakers will be represented by Logan Ortt, Justin Rimer and Mitchell Stokey.
The other schools with a trio of representatives are Steubenville and St. Clairsville. Those with two spots on the list include Cambridge, Martins Ferry, River, Indian Creek, East Liverpool, and Beaver Local.
The entire Ohio list looks like this:
Brian Adkins (Fort Frye), Jaymison Baker (Fort Frye), Will Balgo (Saint-Clairsville), Justin Bartlett (Cambridge), Jeremy Brown (Indian Creek), David Burgey (Steubenville), Evan Carpenter (Martins Ferry), Dylan Czech (East Liverpool), Carter Dennis (River), Dylan Hart (Fort Frye), Brady Kutscherenko (Fort Frye), Cian Montgomery (Steubenville), Dylan Moore (Beaver Local), Logan Ortt (New Philadelphia), Justin Rimer (New Philadelphia) )), Jake Rose (River), Matt Schaefer (Indian Creek), Reese Skaggs (St. Clairsville), Mitchell Stokey (New Philadelphia), Preston Thaman (Martins Ferry), Tyler Tonkovich (St. Clairsville), Brock Valentine (Cambridge ), Tommy Warrick (Beaver Local), Howard Williams (East Liverpool), Joel Chevalier (Warren), Garret Cramer (Monroe Central), Garrett Dozier (Toronto), Ryan Gorman (Catholic Central), Ayden Hannahs (Barnesville), Brian Palmer Jr (Buckeye Local), Vince Patrone (Bellaire), Briar Portman (Shenandoah), Rocco Romeo (Conotton Valley), Jacob Visnic (Shadyside) and Timothy Wehr (Caldwell).
Depew loaded his roster with a third of the players who competed in the town of Wheeling.
Linsly’s head coach took the maximum of five from his Cadet and Wheeling Park squad. It then added three Wheeling Central products for 12 of its 37 offerings.
Linsly players expected to dress on Wheeling Island are Marco Aprea, Steve Felton, Kobe Hill, Joao Lima and Hunter Kelley.
Wheeling Park, which featured an explosive attack, will be represented by Beau Heller, Stevie Mitchell, as well as speedsters Sincere Sinclair and Torrence Walker.
The Central trio includes Spencer Helms, Payton Marling and Jordan Waterhouse.
“I know we thought our season was ending prematurely and that Park and Central expected to play at least one more game, so I’m happy for these kids who get that honor and can play another game.” Said Depew.
The other schools that received three invitations were Magnolia, Oak Glen, Weir, Parkersburg South and University.
The entire West Virginia list looks like this:
Marco Aprea (Linsly), Eliki Barner (University), Daniel Beatles (Oak Glen), Jason Beisel (Magnolia), Tracy Brooks (University), Jordan Bruce (Weir), Alex Burton (John Marshall), Deacon Carmichael (Cameron), Samuel Casto (Brooke), Deondre Crudup (Morgantown), Dimitrius Deshield (University), Anthony DiMatteis (Weir), Steve Felton (Linsly), Dalton Flowers (John Marshall), Devin Gaines (Parkersburg South), Beau Heller (Wheeling Park) , Spencer Helms (Wheeling Central), Gabriel Hendershot (Parkersburg South), Kobe Hill (Linsly), Drake Hukill (Brooke), Hunter Kelley (Linsly), Isaac Keller (Magnolia), Joao Lima (Linsly), Silas McKeever (Magnolia) , Payton Marling (Wheeling Central), Stevie Mitchell (Wheeling Park), Kyler O’Connor (Oak Glen), Cody Poe (Hundred), Lucky Pulice (Madonna), Gage Reitter (Weir), Levi Rice (Parkersburg South), Anthony Sessi (Madonna), Sincere Sinclair (Wheeling Park), Jeremy Taylor (Oak Glen), Torrence Walker (Wheeling Park), Jordan Waterhouse (Wheeling Central).