BETHANY - There's a cliche that says there's no substitute for speed.
If that's true, Ohio should be in pretty good shape when it takes the field Sunday evening for the 67th annual Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic.
When Buckeye State head coach Eric Schumacher and his coaching staff were selecting their players, they didn't select the biggest team, but, instead, went after guys who could run.
PICTURED are the Ohio quarterbacks and running backs for Sunday’s Rudy Mumley OVAC?All-Star Football Classic at Wheeling Island Stadium. Kneeling, from left, are quarterbacks David Kemp (Indian Creek) and Cole Smelley (Bridgeport). Standing, from left, are running backs Josten Dear (Buckeye Local), Shane Crum (Shenandoah), Dashaun Lewis (Cambridge), Jesse Stoudt (Barnesville) and LeShawn Luke (Steubenville).
Obviously, West Virginia has its fair share of speed guys, too, but the Ohio side has plenty of options of guys who are game breakers.
"We're not the biggest team, but we're pretty fast, which is a thing," said Buckeye Local's Josten Dear.
It would be interesting to see just who the fastest guy for Ohio is because football speed and track speed are highly different.
If it was based strictly on track, Buckeye Local's Jordan Piergallini is the fastest. He was the dominant area sprinter in the 100 and 200 meter dash. He was the state runnerup at 100 meters.
"The more I try to put the summer I've had from track and now into this game, into perspective, the harder it is," Piergallini said. "They are two complely different sports, but I think track helped me and it's going to help me in this game."
He'd be challenged by the likes of Bellaire's Juwan Whetstone, a state 100 meter dash qualifier; Cambridge's Dashaun Lewis, a former state track participant; Union Local's Zane Ayouch, a 400 meter dash state qualifier as a junior and Martins Ferry's Richie Padyjasek, a state placer in the high hurdles.
Other speedsters the Buckeyes could turn to include: Dear, Bellaire's Josh Davis, Bridgeport's Cole Smelley and St. Clairsville's Chase Garan.
"The 100 meter dash is a lot different than running 100 yards on a football field with pads and equipment on," Piergallini said. "We've got a lot of speed and a lot of fast guys, which is a nice luxury."
With all of that speed, the biggest challenge for Schumacher and company has been determining what guys to use where.
"We're still figuring it out, but we're getting a better grasp of it with each drill and practice," Schumacher said. "The hardest thing coming in was being able to see who we can put where in what situation."
The West Virginia side doesn't exactly have a bunch of slow guys especially when you talk about Linsly's Ricky Jordan, who didn't go to show much during track because he nursed a hamstring from the middle of April on and didn't compete in the conference meet.
Wheeling Park's Boo Lathon and Vondel Bell are also speedy. Wheeling Central's Gino Bianconi was one of the area's premier running backs in leading the Knights to the Class A state title.
"We've got versatile, athletic kids," said West Virginia head coach Doug Taylor. "We don't have a lot of big kids, so most of our kids are in good shape and they run pretty well."
Since football has transformed into more of a speed game than power, it'll be interesting to see what gives this weekend.