W.Va. stops Ohio in OVAC classic

WHEELING – Brooke product Raleigh Mason went one up on his father and grandfather Sunday during the 68th Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Football Charity Classic.

Mason, a third generation all-star, and his West Virginia teammates scored the first time they touched the pigskin (an 80-yard drive) and rolled to a 28-19 victory over Ohio before a large crowd at Wheeling Island Stadium.

The Mountaineer triumph appears to have been the first for the Mason clan.

“I think they (his grandfather and father) both lost, now I get to rub this victory in their faces,” Mason said with a smile on the sidelines as the contest was winding down. “That feels pretty good.

“We executed tonight and played to the best of our ability. Everyone played as one unit, the camaraderie was great and we got the job done.”

Mason, who was injured during Week 1 of the 2012 season but was able to come back and play in the final three games, will continue his career at West Virginia State University.

“Any time I get the chance to play football, it feels great,” the former Bruin running back stated. “Beating Ohio just puts icing on the cake.’

Mason and Ben Rodgers, another Brooke graduate, were part of the West Virginia offense that compiled 247 yards.

“This feels great,” said Rodgers, who will attend Alderson-Broaddus and play football. “Our team did a great job of coming together during camp and we really pushed to get this win.

“The offensive line really bonded. I think building those relationships really helped us on the field tonight.”

Rodgers, who stands 6-3 and goes 255, did admit the Wheeling Central “spin series” offense run by the Mountaineers was “a little confusing at first.”

“It was something completely new,” he noted. “Fortunately, I have a brain for football and I was able to pick it up.”

Linsly product Chinelo Oparanozie found the spin series to his liking. He ripped off 94 yards on 23 and scored a touchdown.

For Weir High’s Daren Baldwin, the West Virginia victory was “the best feeling I’ve had in a while.”

“The teams I was on didn’t win much,” he pointed out. “I love this feeling, it’s just unbelievable. The key was we got after them. The defense made some big stops.”

Baldwin plans to walk-on at West Liberty University.

The Mountaineer defense was extremely dominant during the early stages of the contest. On its first four possessions of the opening half, the Buckeyes were held to minus seven yards.

“There’s a battle in every in game and that transcends into the war,” said Ohio head coach Mark Holenka, who was coaching in the game for the first time. “We lost the battle in the trenches and in the second half, I thought we lost the battle defensively. You can’t afford to lose two battles in a war.”

Ohio finally got its offense going late in the second quarter after Harrison Central’s Nick Pelegreen recovered a Mountaineer fumble. Big Red’s Dashon Redman kept the ensuing Buckeye drive going when he sprinted for 22 yards on a fourth and two play, toting the football to the West Virginia five.

Pelegreen scored the initial Buckeye touchdown when he hauled in a five-yard pass from St. Clairsville’s Matt Kinnick.

West Virginia led 14-7 at the half. On its first possession of the second half, the Mountaineers moved 70 yards for a score, Oparanozie going over from three yards away.

Ohio would answer following another fumble recovery. This time, Redman sprinted to pay dirt from seven yards out.

The Mountaineers put the game on ice when Magnolia’s Tanner Hanna went it from two yards away. The Buckeyes got the game’s final score on a 17-yard pass from Shadyside’s Chase Kinemond to Big Red’s Matt Petrella.

Ohio was held to 49 net yards rushing for the game and managed 118 stripes through the air. Redman paced the Buckeyes with 58 yards on 13 carries. Catholic Central’s Zack Herrington grabbed five passes for 55 yards.

“I am most disappointed in our inability to get off the field on third down,” Holenka said. “We had chances to make stops, but each time, to West Virginia’s credit, they made a play and picked up a first down.”

Oak Glen’s Preston Murray had an outstanding game in the defensive trenches for West Virginia. For his effort, he was named the game MVP.

“It feels great,” Murray said about the victory. “The key was just playing hard and hitting hard.”

Ohio, which grabbed a 33-14 victory in 2012, now leads the series 42-25-1.