By SETH STASKEY
Times Leader Sports Editor
Each year it seems like there's a new method of team bonding during the week of OVAC All-Star camp.
Sometimes, the players have a video game tournament or some other kind of competition. This year, it was a hair do showing of unity.
When the players take the field tonight at Wheeling Island Stadium for the 67th annual OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic, while it will be under their helmets, three members of the Ohio squad are sporting fresh mohawks.
Buckeye Local's Josten Dear and Greg Ring as well as St. Clairsville's Chase Garan came to camp last Sunday with one kind of hair cut and will return home tonight after the game with a different look.
"I got the look I was hoping for," Dear said. "I was just looking for something to do and everyone liked it."
Monroe Central's Kole Hogue stepped up to the plate and performed the cut after word leaked that he was an adept hairstylist when it comes to shaving.
With the use of Anthony Kuhn's sheers, Hogue worked "Ohio" into the side of Dear's head.
"I just learned from watching YouTube videos and practicing on my buddies," Hogue said of his talent. "I can draw, so I am good at doing hair. It's basically the same thing."
Hogue isn't planning on furthering his ability in cosmotology.
"It's just fun and something to do to pass time," Hogue said. "If they let me do it and want me to do it, I've got no problem doing it. For the clippers that I used, it turned out really well."
Garan, quite simply, wanted to be noticed as he puts pads on for what will most likely be the final time.
"I just want to go out looking good," Garan said. "I had a mowhawk way back, probably during my freshman year. We tried to get more guys to do it, but some of the guys like their hair too much and they're scared."
WHO'S THE FASTEST GUY?
There's been an ongoing debate this week in camp, between the teams, as to who the fastest guy in tonight's game will be.
On the Ohio side, you've got Buckeye Local's Jordan Piergallini, who was consistently under 11 in the 100 meter dash and finished second in the Division II state meet. On the West Virginia side, you've got Linsly's Ricky Jordan, who missed much of track season with a hamstring problem. However, he was the premier sprinter in 2011.
There was talk in the middle of the week that the two might set up their own race on the Bethany oval.
"There's a track (at Bethany) and I am always ready for a challenge," Jordan said. "So, I am down for anything."
As far as we're aware, the race never materialized, but if it had, it might be too close to call.
The fact that tonight is the first game ever, as a head coach, for Ohio's Eric Schumacher is well-documented.
Before he left for camp last Sunday, several people asked him about how he would handle his nerves and such.
Quite simply, Schumacher doesn't get nervous and he's got a good way of dealing with it to keep that string alive.
"I take a nap before the game and then you can't be nervous because you're asleep," Schumacher said.
WHAT MEANS MORE?
Many of the players in the game have taken part in a variety of different all star games over the course of their respective careers.
West Virginia's Boo Lathon - the Wheeling Park product, who is headed for West Liberty, was fortunate enough to be chosen for the West Virginia North-South Game in both basketball and football.
However, not even playing with the premier players in the Mountain State compares to what he's experienced this week with the guys he's grown up with and played against his entire life.
"I remember going to this OVAC game since I've been little," Lathon said. "I always wanted to play in this game and this one means a lot more to me, so I am going to go out and give it my all."
MEN IN STRIPES
The officials for tonight's game are as follows: Keith Bloom (referee), Chris Schubert (umpire), Joe Koler (linesman), Ernie Fithyan (line judge), Don Hynes (side judge), Bill Flanagan (field judge) and Jim Sperlazza Jr. (back judge).
If you're at the stadium or watching on TV, you can get involved through the OVAC's Facebook Page. Fans will have the chance to vote for the game's MVP there as well as check in and post pictures to the conference's page.