Football action is back in the valley

High school football returns to our region this evening when the 73rd edition of the Rudy Mumley Ohio Valley Athletic Conference All-Star Football Charity Classic is played.

This year’s game, which is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m., returns to Wheeling Island Stadium. It once again will pit the top graduated seniors from Ohio against their counterparts from West Virginia.

As usual, bragging rights will be on the line in the game, which was first played in 1940. Even more important will be the friendships that have been made since training camps opened and the experiences that have been a part of the week leading up to tonight, including the annual George Strager Evening with the Stars, the Queen of Queens contest and a pep rally.

For some of the players, the game will represent a final tuneup before they head to college training camps during the next few weeks. For others, it will be the final time they play a competitive football game.

Joining the football players as part of the event will be members of the McDonald’s High School Band, the Queen of Queens contestants and cheerleaders. In all, more than 200 young men and women will be participating in the event.

And while all of that is important, the game is about raising money for charity, and it’s a success on that level, as well — in the nearly 50 years the OVAC has sponsored the game, more than $900,000 has been donated to local charitable organizations and scholarships.

Tonight’s game gets the clock ticking toward the start of the high school football season — in fact, our award-winning high school football preview section, The Gridiron, will be included in the Aug. 22 editions of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. It’s the region’s most-anticipated football edition, and will offer complete previews of our local high school football teams as well as in-depth feature stories.

High school football returns tonight — sit back and enjoy.