Bragging rights will be on the line today when the 68th Rudy Mumley Ohio Valley Athletic Conference All-Star Charity Football Classic is held.
It will be a chance for the top graduated senior football players from Ohio to take on their counterparts from West Virginia. Ohio holds a 26-14-1 edge in the series since the OVAC took over the sponsorship in 1972, and has a 41-25-1 lead in the overall series, which started in 1940.
For some of the players who will take the field at Wheeling Island Stadium for the 7:15 p.m. kickoff, it will be a tune-up as they prepare to head to college and play the game at the next level, while for others, it will be the last time they participate in the sport.
The action on the field is just part of the story of the game, however. Players have been participating in a week's worth of activities leading up the contest and are making friendships they will carry for the rest of their lives. Some of those experiences will certainly be relived this afternoon when the 50-year reunion is held at WesBanco Arena.
This year's rosters include 65 football players. But activities surrounding the game include many more area young people, from the members of the McDonald's OVAC All-Star Band, to participants in the Queen of Queens competition to the cheerleaders.
Training camps for both squads were held at Bethany College, and other activities leading up to the game have included the annual Osiris Shrine film and pizza night, the Evening with the Stars, an ice cream social, the Queen of Queens pageant and a pep rally.
While the game and all of the activities that surround it are important, the event is all about raising money for charity. In fact, the all-star football game has helped the OVAC donate more than $870,000 to charitable organizations and scholarship funds.
Tonight's game means that the start of the high school football season is just around the corner. The local season will begin with a doubleheader Aug. 29 at Robert Kettlewell Memorial Stadium in Wintersville. Indian Creek will take on Weir High at 5:30 p.m. that day, while Weirton Madonna will meet Beallsville at 7:30 p.m.
The long wait for the return of high school football ends today -we hope you will sit back and enjoy.