SHOULD THE West Virginia football all-stars win tonight's OVAC Rudy Mumley Charity Classic, would Ohio Valley prep grid fans begin clamoring for a new format to the game?
We doubt it, but a Blue & Gold win would mark a third straight West Virginia triumph. Such an achievement would have been deemed impossible years ago. Ohio's past domination has spawned cries for a new selection process, be it east-west, north-south or random drafting of players.
Should that happen, the game would lose its rich flavor that only an Ohio vs. West Virginia matchup can provide.
Two straight Mountaineer victories has spiced the contest. A third tonight would spark even more intrigue.
The addition of West Virginia big-school heavyweights such as Morgantown, University and Parkersburg South to the OVAC has leveled the playing field in terms of available talent. With those three schools now in the all-star fold, there is no reason West Virginia has to be the weak sister in the game.
That trio of schools combined with prime-time players from Brooke, Wheeling Park, John Marshall, Linsly and Wheeling Central is a recipe for all-star game success. Less schools to choose from is also a boost to West Virginia's chances.
With all that said, I still have a hard time believing the Buckeyes will fall for a third straight year. I have been impressed with how youthful Conotton Valley coach Eric Schumacher has handled himself and his Buckeye players.
When the final horn sounds tonight at Wheeling Island Stadium, I expect a 24-21 Ohio win, courtesy of a Richie Padyjasek (Martins Ferry) field goal in the waning moments.
SPEAKING OF the OVAC game, congratulations to Ohio County Schools Superintendent Dr. Dianna Vargo for putting an another first class George Strager Evening With the Stars event Wednesday at the White Palace.
I WOULD be remiss if I didn't mention Tim Zdanski. I never had the chance to meet the man. That is my loss, as by all accounts he was a special Bethesda police chief, administrator and person. He was genuinely and totally loved by all who came in contact with him. He accomplished so much, leaving a legacy that will shine forever.
TWO LOCAL basketball players are currently competing in the National AAU 15 and under national championships in Hampton, Va. Emilio Appolloni and Chase Harler are playing with the Morgantown-based TOGS. Appolloni is a 6 ft. 8 forward freshman-to-be at Martins Ferry. Harler is a 6 ft. guard and will be a frosh at Wheeling Central this season.
WITH JUST three days remaining in the month, today will mark the initial time I have had to mow my lawn in July. I would rather mow more frequently than stare at brown grass.
KUDOS TO Shadyside Village Council for its change of heart, opting to keep its recreation board. Recreation is a key entity in any community and obviously the board in Tigertown is working efficiently as the village pool has proven a popular attraction for the second successive summer.
OFTEN TIMES we hear that there is nothing to do in the Ohio Valley. That complaint falls on deaf ears today with the Italian Festival and the OVAC football game serving up all the entertainment one could want in a single day.
A POLL released Thursday revealed that the majority of the nation has a negative opinion of both presidential hopefuls. That is hardly surprising. With all the negative campaigning being traded by both candidates, it may only worsen. Unfortunately, we have three more campaigning months to suffer through.
WE COMMEND Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland and his force for their work in making quick arrests in the baseball field vandalism case. Also, after talking to Bellaire Police Chief Mike Kovalyk Thursday we are confident his department's murder probe is making positive advancements.
Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader online.com