Frankovitch, Bennett representing Red Riders one final time
BETHANY – What started out as one of the most stressful parts of John Frankovitch’s day ended as one of the most exciting moments of his life.
It was late Spring, near the end of the school year at Weir High. Frankovitch was prepared to graduate and close out the year on a high note, but a message to report to the principal’s office had his mind racing.
“I’m thinking, ‘Oh man, what could I have done? What’s going on here?'” Frankovitch recently recalled.
“I get to the principal’s office and Mr. (Dan)?Enich is there with my football coach (Tony Filberto). Coach goes, ‘Do you know why you’re down here?’ And I’m still thinking I’m in trouble.
“But then he told me I was selected for the OVAC All-Star Game. I was really excited…and relieved.”
Joining Frankovitch for Sunday’s game as the West Virginia All-Stars take on Ohio is Weir High teammate Clarence Bennett.
“I jumped for joy when I saw the letter that I was chosen to play in the game,” Bennett said. “Ever since I started playing football I wanted to play in this game.”
Bennett and Frankovitch have been at Bethany College for the past week preparing for Sunday’s game at Wheeling Island Stadium.
“We’ve been learning a whole new system,” Bennett said. “We’re working on a lot of different things and I’ve been playing some receiver and defensive back and I’m prepared to play again.”
His favorite part of the week?
“Exchanging decals with the other players,” Bennett said with a smile. “It’s cool to meet players from other teams. We trade our school logos for theirs and we’re trying to collect every team.”
The Red Riders went 1-7 against fellow OVAC teams in the 2013 season, but finished the year with three wins, their most since going 9-3 in 2008.
Though he had to watch it from the sidelines, Frankovitch’s favorite game from this past season was a 22-21 come from behind win over Grafton in Week 4.
“We were losing 21-0 at halftime, so it was just an amazing comeback,” said Frankovitch, who was shelved with a leg injury. “That was an exciting game and it gave us a spark for the rest of the season. I was a little upset that I couldn’t play in it, but I still went hard in the games I did play in.
“Everyone is part of a win, even if you don’t play.”
The West Virginia team won the 2013 edition of the OVAC All-Star Game, 28-19. The Mountaineers have won three of the last four games and Bennett feels they have a solid chance to add to the total.
“We should do well,” he said. “We have some good talent and we’re ready for a good game on Sunday.”
Frankovitch can’t help but feel sentimental being on the football field for the last time.
“It brings you back to the high school days,” he said. “It’s more relaxed than high school football because we’re just gearing up for one game. We’re still treating this like our Super Bowl, though.”
Bennett is undecided about his college plans, but Frankovitch is headed to Washington & Jefferson, where he won’t have to worry about being called into the principal’s office ever again.