Summer Classic

IT IS said that football is king in the Ohio Valley. That being the case, his royal gridness ascends his throne tonight at the 66th annual Rudy Mumley OVAC?All-Star Charity Football?Classic.

Prep stars from Ohio and West Virginia will vie at Wheeling Island Stadium, climaxing a week of pageantry and camaraderie. The game is one of the features of the summer season and marks the official kickoff of the high school football for 2011.

The players have been put through a rigorous practice schedule in oppressive weather conditions. Despite the abbreviated preparation time, we are certain Coach Dave Bruney (Ohio) and Coach Mark Batton (West Virginia) will have their respective teams primed to perform at peak levels.

We wish both sides the best of luck and we are rooting for an injury-free contest.

The game, however, is just one piece of a sparkling pigskin puzzle. The Rudy Mumley OVAC?All-Star Charity Football?Classic has often been termed an extravaganza.

We believe that is truly the case.

The football is accentuated by a myriad of events and activities.

The McDonald’s All-Star Band brings together more than 200 local prep musicians. In just a few days of practice, they blend their talents into a magnificent musical machine.

Nearly two dozen young ladies add beauty and grace to the festivities as they compete for the right to be crowned Queen of Queens at halftime of tonight’s game.

Leading the cheers will be some of the best cheerleaders in the conference as some 20 spirit-generators from both sides of the river will be spurring on the players and crowd.

Not to be forgotten are participants from years’ past. A 10-year reunion for the game’s participants in 2001 will be held while all-stars from the games in 1956, ’57 and ’58 will also be recognized.

Game director Bob Koch and his staff leave no stone unturned in putting on a gala affair.

We tip our helmets to all those who help make the Rudy Mumley OVAC?All-Star Charity Football?Classic just that — a classic.

As a result, there a no losers tonight. Everyone involved is a winner, especially charity, which has realized some $900,000 from past games.