High school football fans will get a little taste of what's coming in just a few short weeks today, when the 67th-annual Rudy Mumley Ohio Valley Athletic Conference All-Star Charity Football Classic is held.
The event, which is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. at Wheeling Island Stadium, will pit the top graduated seniors from Ohio against their counterparts from West Virginia.
Ohio holds a 26-13-1 edge in the series since the OVAC took over sponsorship in 1972, and holds a 41-24-1 lead in overall series, which began in 1940.
As always, there will be bragging rights on the line for everyone involved. For some of the players, the game will be a tune-up as they prepare to head for college and to play the game at the next level, while for others, it will be the last time they participate in the sport.
Most of those who have been a part of the game and the week's worth of activities that lead up to it will tell you that it is about more than football. Friendships are made that will last for many years down the road. Some of those experiences will no doubt be remembered this evening, when players from the 1959 and 1960 games are recognized.
Family tradition will be on display as well. For example, Steubenville Big Red's Michael Camilletti will follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, who played in the 1951 game, and his father, Rick, who was a coach for the Ohio squad in 1988. And, the father of Indian Creek's Michael Furda, Mike, played in the 1982 game.
In addition to the 66 football players, 151 young men and women will participate with the McDonald's OVAC All-Star Band, 26 young women will participate in the Queen of Queens pageant and 18 young women will serve as cheerleaders.
As always, a full week of activities leads up to the game. Training camps for both squads were held at Bethany College. Activities held last week included the annual Osiris Shrine film and pizza night, the Evening with the Stars, the Queen of Queens Pageant and a pep rally.
Even more than football, the game is about raising money for charity. In fact, the OVAC reports that during the last 40 years, more than $861,600 has been donated to charitable organizations and scholarship funds.
Tonight's game starts the clock toward the start of the area high school football season, which will open on Aug. 23 with a doubleheader at Harding Stadium. Steubenville Big Red will meet Youngstown Woodrow Wilson and Oak Glen will take on Edison that night.
High school football returns tonight - sit back and enjoy.