ELM GROVE - The pairings for the fourth-annual McDonald's Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Kickoff Weekend were announced Wednesday morning in the conference room atop the McDonald's restaurant.
This year's event will once again be played at two sites on Aug. 29, with Kettlewell Memorial Stadium replacing Steubenville's Harding Stadium. Wheeling Island Stadium is the other venue.
"What a better way to celebrate the official start of the football season," said James Companion of Scholastic Sports Marketing. "The crowds and fan enthusiasm have exceeded our expectations these first three years. It will be exciting to see how things go at our new Indian Creek site, and having both Weirton schools on that same ticket.
NOT LONG NOW — The pairings for the fourth-annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Kickoff Weekend have been announced. Indian Creek, represented by assistant athletic director David Kell, at the luncheon, will host?Weir High at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 29.
-- Shawn Rine
"Our primary objectives remain the same, and that's to raise money for the OVAC and member schools and the Ronald McDonald House and provide a positive experience for the youth of our community."
The first game on the natural grass surface in Wintersville will have the host Redskins entertaining rival Weir at 5:30 p.m.
Immediately following that contest will be Beallsville and Weirton Madonna in a battle of Class A programs. The Blue Dons have been a perennial power in West Virginia, while the Blue Devils will be in a re-building mode. This game has an approximate kickoff set for 7:45 p.m.
The Dons were the state championship runners-up last season.
"The first question people asked me when we found out we were playing in Wintersville was 'Where is Wintersville?'" Beallsville head coach Paul Kanzigg joked. "Being from Beallsville, we don't even know how to get there."
Also on Thursday at Wheeling Island Stadium, small school rivals Bishop Donahue and Cameron will hook up for bragging rights in Marshall County in a 5 p.m. kickoff.
The Bishops and Dragons will be meeting for the second consecutive year on Kickoff Weekend.
Completing the doubleheader on the Island is another re-match between Wheeling Central and Harrison Central.
"It's an honor to play in this Kickoff Weekend," Huskies head coach Justin Kropka said. "We played Wheeling Central here last year and it was a great game."
Finishing things up on Friday night is a clash between West Virginia big-school powerhouses Wheeling Park and Keyser. Both teams reportedly have a lot of talent coming back and could potentially end their seasons back on the Island at the Super Six Championships.
"We're confident that this year's schedule will be a lot of fun for football fans in the Ohio Valley," said Tim McCoy, WTOV-TV vice president and general manager. "We are extremely proud to showcase 10 great high school football programs and the student-athletes who excel, not only on the gridiron, but in the classroom, too."
Thursday's four games will be broadcast tape-delayed on WTOV. WKKX-AM will carry all five games on the radio and will also audio stream on wkkx.com.
Tickets are $10 for each doubleheader Thursday, with Friday's admission being $7. Each participating school will sell tickets. The fan enhancement plans will be released at a later date.
Besides McDonald's as the title sponsor and WTOV as the presenting sponsor, Wheeling Hospital, Shirts N' More, Premier Bank & Trust, Paree Insurance Centers, West Liberty University, Belmont College and the U.S. Army are also on board as fiscal sponsors. Lamar Outdoor Advertising, The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register and The Times Leader are media sponsors.