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The Press Box For July 26

By Staff | Jul 26, 2017

Yes folks, it’s that time of year once again. With only a few weeks before school starts back up and vacations mostly over, it’s time for coaches and players to get back to work. Football practice will officially begin in West Virginia on Monday, but they’re not the only ones. Volleyball, Soccer, Cross Country and Golf will also see the start of a new season.

By all indications it looks like another exciting fall is on the way for the local sports enthusiast. This past Saturday was a prelude to what we have to look forward to in about a month. The OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star football classic, was just that, “a classic”.

The game was held at Martins Ferry’s Purple Rider Stadium before a full house, some of the area’s finest football talent put on a display like we may never see again. This is the 72nd West Virginia-Ohio All- Star game. It came under the sponsorship of the OVAC in 1972 and this is only the third time in it’s 42 year history that the game has not been played at Wheeling Island Stadium. The 1972 game was held at Martins Ferry, due to the big flood that year and in 1986 the game was played at Steubenville.

The OVAC is the largest high school athletic conference in the United States and it is a class act. They put on a heck of a big event with the football game. Media day was held on Monday, they had the 31st annual George Strager Evening With the Stars on Tuesday, at Wheeling Park’s White Palace. The McDonald’s All-Star Band reported to Bethany on Wednesday and the Queen of Queens talent show was held on Thursday, at the Capitol Theatre.

With parking being the only major problem it turned into a gem of a night, after a whole day of hard rains and heavy thunderstorms. What a shame someone had to lose, when two teams battle so hard after putting in an entire week of camp and practice, thanks to Bethany College, which so graciously partnered once again with the conference to provide housing, meals and practice facilities, while also hosting many other events during the week leading up to game night.

With West Virginia coming out on top this year 20-13 it was especially rewarding for Tyler Consolidated’s two representatives on the team, Jace Reed and Tyler Anderson as they will be the final athletes from Tyler Consolidation to represent a great high school . Also representing the Silver Knights in the 147 member McDonald’s All-Star Band,were five members of the Knights marching band, Ross Gorby, Makenzie Kimble, Ted Stackpole. Brianna Wade and Nachelle Probst.

Forty One of the Fifty Three schools in the OVAC were represented by participants in activities related to this year’s game.

With Tyler Consolidation making the decision to drop out of the conference, it loses the opportunity for the Silver Knights to be a part of something really special. Anderson and Reed didn’t disappoint and both athletes were major factors in the West Virgina win. Anderson from his strong safety position had several tackles and defended very well, he also laid some big hits on Ohio’s players one which saved a TD. Reed from his linebacker spot had a sack and three solo tackles and several assits. They both stood out on the defensive unit while Reed also played some special teams.

I don’t know the reasons for the withdrawal but I do know the benefits that go with the OVAC and they certainly are rewarding for all member schools. Just the scholarships alone make it worthwhile.

The opportunity to play in a game of this magnatude is someting that you could only dream of as a youngster growing up. Tyler County was well represented by these two fine players and by the four members of the McDondald Marching band. All of Tyler County can be proud of the young men and women who represented them on Saturday night.

Just three seasons ago the Silver Knights won the girls OVAC Volleyball tournament. Several wrestlers have competed very well in the past few years at the annual Ron Mack OVAC three day wrestling tournament held at Wesbanco arena. The cheer leading competition, the baseball and basketball tournaments are all first class and the competition is as good as you’ll find.

I was amazed at the turnout for the game as they packed the bleachers on both sides but what I enjoyed the most was watching Jace and Tyler play against the best players from Ohio’s schools and help West Virginia come out on top. On a night when the big game was moved to Martins Ferry and after a day of constant storms nearly 7,000 people packed the stadiumn.

West Virginia had 32 players suit up while Ohio had 33. The McDonald’s All-Star band had 147 members. Friday night prior to the game there was a free pep rally at Bison Field at Bethany College with the announcement of the Rudy Mumley Memorial Scholar Athlete Scholarship, and the Ron Mauck Scholar Athlete Scholarships.

The rally also included the introduction of the Band, Football Teams, Cheerleaders and Queen of Queens.

In 46 years, the OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game has donated over $934,700 to charity organizations and scholarships throughout the Ohio Valley.

The OVAC does it right, no doubt about it. One of the executive members of the conference quoted John Wooden to me on Saturday when I asked him how they found time to do everything. “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over,” John Wooden.

This is going to be a great year in high school sports and for those of you who’ve been told your to small, not fast enough, not strong enough or just don’t have what it takes – don’t give up. Decide what you want to do, how you’ll get it and out work everyone else. “Don’t ever give up.” They say you can’t but God says you can. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com