The return of high school football

If you’re a fan of high school football, today will certainly serve as a preview of what’s coming in just a few weeks.

When the top graduated seniors from Ohio take on their counterparts from West Virginia in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference’s Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game, it will start the clock ticking toward the last week in August and the opening of the 2019 high school football season.

There will be bragging rights on the line in Wheeling Island Stadium when the 74th game in a series that dates back to 1940 gets under way at 7:15 p.m.

For some of the players who will dress tonight, the game will represent a final tuneup before they head to college training camps during the next few weeks. For others, it will be the last time they ever step onto a football field.

While the game itself is important, the friendships that have been made since training camp opened about a week ago at Bethany College will last long into the future. In many ways, it is about more than football.

Those involved in the contest have had the chance to participate in the annual Osiris Shrine Social, the George Strager Evening with the Stars, the Queen of Queens contest and a pep rally. When it is all said and done, more than 200 area young men and women will participate in the eventing, whether as a player, a member of the McDonald’s OVAC All-Star Band, a Queen of Queens contestant or a cheerleader.

Keep in mind, though, that the event is about raising money for charity, and it has been very successful on that level as well.

The OVAC reports that it has donated more than $900,000 to charitable organizations and scholarship funds because of the game.

Tonight’s game means that the start of the 20109 season is about one month away. On Aug. 29 Steubenville Big Red will take on Taylor Allderdice in Harding Stadium while Buckeye Local will visit Barnesville.

To make sure you’re ready for this season, you’ll want to be sure to get a copy of our award-winning high school football preview section, The Gridiron, which will be included in our Aug. 28 editions. It’s the region’s premiere football edition and will offer complete previews of each of our area high school teams as well as in-depth feature stories.

High school football returns tonight — we hope you will sit back and enjoy.