Long wait for prep football is over

WAIT NO longer.

Tonight is the night Ohio Valley football fans have been waiting for since the horn sounded on last season’s state championship games in December.

High school football OVAC-style returns in grand fashion in the form of the Rudy Mumley Charity Classic. Kickoff is at 7:15 p.m. at Wheeling Island Stadium.

The all-star tilt features an unusual backdrop as the West Virginia All-Stars enter riding the wave of a two-game winning streak, in a series once dominated by Ohio.

The playing field was leveled, however, when the OVAC added Parkersburg South, Morgantown and University to the conference. Those three big-time programs offer a much deeper talent pool for the Mountaineer coaches to choose from.

The game is the exclamation point on a week of classy events.

Wednesday’s George Strager’s Evening With the Stars at the White Palace is as nice affair as you will find. Dr. Dianna Vargo is in charge of the evening which recognizes every individual involved in this year’s game, save the McDonald’s Band.

The Queen of Queens Pageant staged Friday night at WesBanco is also well-attended and delivered in grand fashion. My high school classmate, Joyce Jingle, is in charge of the Queen of Queens events and does it in first-class style.

A pep rally and ice cream social spice the week’s activities. A football clinic for youngsters is also staged today.

But the game itself is the week’s zenith. Hopefully, the weathermen cooperate.

It’s tough to tell who has the superior physical talent. But I am going with the Ohio stars for two reasons.

First, I have been lifelong friends with Ohio head coach Mark Holenka. My brother was his college roommate and best man in his wedding. Also, “Mape” asked me to be an usher in his wedding, but I was already booked with another ushering effort.

A more concrete reason for going with the Buckeyes is Matt Kinnick. I am a huge fan of the former St. Clairsville High quarterback. His performance in the wind and cold in the state semifinal win was nothing short of sensational.

I believe he was the most underrated gridder in the OVAC. Kinnick should also thrive with the help of Ty Fleming running the Ohio offense.

Let’s call it: Buckeyes, 28-13.



CONGRATULATIONS GO out to Frank Fregiato. The current Belmont County Northern Division Court judge will now become Court of Common Pleas judge, succeeding the retiring Jennifer Sargus.

Judge Fregiato informed me Wednesday of the good news. It is a great fit, one I expected for sometime. Gov. John Kasich made it official this past week.

Judge Fregiato has distinguished himself for years on the bench and prior to that as a practicing attorney. He has a great personality but is no-nonsense when it comes to dealing with criminals.

The St. Clairsville resident is also a visionary, as reflected by his taking his Northern Division court proceedings into every Belmont County high school. He implemented the program years ago and has met with resounding success.

Judge Fregiato is also passionate when it comes to the community. He is an active member with the Bellaire Sons of Italy among his many civic involvements.

It is good to see one stellar judge hand the gavel to another. We wish both Judge Sargus and Judge Fregiato all of the best.


CONGRATULATIONS TO former Union Local principal and head girls’ basketball coach Rick Jones. He has been named new high school principal at John Marshall. He was previously serving as Wheeling Middle School principal.

JAMBOREE RECAP: I loved the Toby Keith performance. But my two sentimental favorites were Joe Zelek and his new band as well as Neal McCoy. Both are people persons, and McCoy’s sharing stage time with Shadyside’s Spencer Lay brought tears to my eyes.

CLOSE BUT no cigar: I picked Lee Westwood to win the British Open and for 60 plus holes it was a great pick. But once again he faded, opening the door for people’s favorite Phil Mickelson. It was Lefty’s fifth major and first British Open crown.

GREG MITTS has been named new athletic director at Caldwell High. He replaces Tad Secrest. Mitts is a 1993 Wintersville High graduate. He was previously head girls’ basketball coach and head boys’ basketball coach at Toronto High. Mitts was also head girls’ hoops coach at Meadowbrook?High.

FORMER ST. John Central distance running star Luke Holubeck has been selected to the NCAA Division II All-Academic Team by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. A total 210 men from 74 institutions earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors for their combined efforts in competition and achievements in the classroom. To qualify for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Track and Field Team, a student-athlete must have a compiled cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and have reached a provisional or automatic qualifying standard for the NCAA championships in either indoor or outdoor seasons. Holubeck, a biology major, earned a 4.0 GPA and set a NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the men’s 10,000-meter run. Holubeck finished 34th overall in the 10,000-meters with a time of 30:37.04.

DR. DAN Doyle’s tenure as superintendent of Noble Local Schools comes to an end Tuesday. The Wheeling native is retiring after 12 years in the post.

THE VILLAGE of Bellaire will holding its second “free” trash disposal day on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 8 a.m. until noon, at the service garage on 419-37th St. This service is “free” to all Bellaire garbage customers with a copy of your billing account. Items not eligible are: landscape waste, liquids, (paint, motor oil, sludge), toxic waste or materials (asbestos), batteries, lumber, medical waste, construction and demolition debris and gas tanks of any kind.

Representatives of the Knights of Columbus will be on hand to take any metal items you wish to discard of or you may call them at 740-676-8688 for a home pick-up for metal items only.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleaderonline.com