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OVAC all-star game kicks off Sunday

By Staff | Jul 22, 2009

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON — Nate Zills will play in the OVAC all-star football game on Sunday, 23 years after his father, Les, played in the game.

If the summer sports action seems slow this time of year, football fans can get a fix during this Sunday’s OVAC All-Star football game.

The 2009 edition of this game will see eight area athletes dress up in the blue and gold for West Virginia and scarlet and grey for Ohio as the Mountaineers attempt to beat the Buckeyes.

The series almost resembles the mid-summer classic of Major League Baseball, as Ohio has won 13 of the last 14 games. West Virginia’s last win came with a 21-7 decision in 2004, breaking a losing streak that lasted started in 1995. Coaching this year’s Mountaineer team will be Weirton Madonna’s Bob Kramer.

Tyler Consolidated will have one representative compete in the game.

For the Silver Knights, Nathaniel Zills will be one of four, very credible backfield players carrying the ball.

“I can’t wait for the intensity of the crowd and the adrenaline to be pumping. I get excited just thinking about it,” said Zills.

The future Marietta Pioneer capped his senior season with 1,200 yards, totaling 2,690 for his career. His work placed him on the first-team all-OVAC list and second-team all-sate. Zills also competed in the BACF all-star game in June, and was named the most valuable player for West Virginia’s squad.

“It’s always kind of tough to take a few weeks off and then try and get back into the groove of things when it comes to football,” he added.

“It’s not been bad. All you have to do is work hard, and you’ll be back in shape in no time. The intensity is heightened here, more than it was at the BACF. I’m definitely using this as another chance to get the rust off the pipes.”

Zills is one of 10 players this year that has a relative who previously played in the OVAC all-star game. His father Les participated in the game in 1986.

Zills will report to Marietta football camp Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Paden City was supposed to be represented by standout Wes Cosper, but an injury has scratched him from the list. He was previously listed to play wide receiver.

Cosper ran for 3,168 yards and 40 touchdowns during his career. As if that weren’t enough for a resume, he threw for 2,478 yards and 18 touchdowns. Of course there are receiving stats, as he tallied 176 yards and three scores receiving during his short time at wide out.

The Wildcats star was a two-time first-team all-state selection and a three-time first-team all-OVAC selection.

Like Zills, Cosper also played in the BACF all-star game, but a sprained ankle suffered during the week of practice leading up to the game prevented him from seeing much playing time.

Other local athletes will include recent graduates from Magnolia, River, and Valley.

The Blue Eagles’ Tyler Hanna, Brandon Sprouse and Jason Utt will join the Lumberjacks’ Morgan Long for West Virginia.

Ohio will have Pilots’ alumni D.J. Duke, Jordan Clegg, and Tyler Brooks.

Football won’t be the only thing going on however. Other activities that go on include the OVAC McDonald’s all star band, cheerleaders, and Queen of Queens pageant.

Valley High School band director Benjamin McPherson and New Martinsville School band director Amanda McPherson are co-directors of this year’s all-star band.

Band members from Tyler Consolidated, Magnolia, River and Valley will all be on-hand.

Jessica Campbell, Kara Haught, Brian Litten and Emily McNees will represent the Silver Knights marching band.

Maddie Bridgeman will march for Magnolia, as will River’s Kyle Brown, Laken Lancaster, and Zachary Schnegg.

Valley has the most people in the band from the area with 13 members.

They are Victoria Arnolds, Jared Arnolds, Eric Byard, Skyler Deuter, Rachel Ice, Ava Morris, Brady Nolen, Breanna Nolen, Lyndsay Sell, Bryan Sell, Cassie Ueltschy, Tristen Willey, and Kristen Wolfe.

A Queen of Queen’s talent show will be at WesBanco Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Tyler Consolidated’s Kara Martie and Paden City’s Amy Toman will both compete in hopes of being crowned OVAC Queen of Queens for 2009.

Last year, Tyler Consolidated’s Emmalyn Rucker won the crown, becoming the first lady in the area to achieve the honor.

The winner will be announced at halftime of the game.

Tickets for the game can be purchased in advance at Witschey’s Market in New Martinsville for $7. Tickets at the gate will be $10.

In 37 years, the OVAC All-Star Football Charity Classic has donated more than $850,000 to organizations and scholarships throughout the Ohio Valley.