WHEELING - Before heading to the Queen of Queens pageant Friday afternoon, Ohio head coach Eric Schumacher sat his team down for the annual vote.
He told each player to write down the name of two teammates and the top four vote getters would serve as the captains in tonight's 67th annual Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic, which is slated for Wheeling Island Stadium.
"The guys that the players chose have stood out to the coaching staff as well," Schumacher said. "Both on and off the field."
Steubenville's duo of William Houst and LeShawn Luke will be joined by Buckeye Local's Josten Dear and Bridgeport's Cole Smelley on the field as the teams determine the coin flip and lead the stretching this evening.
The players learned of the vote late Friday night and Schumacher believe each realizes what it means to be chosen - by his peers - as a team leader.
"They're respectful young men and they know the type of honor it is to be a captain for this type of game," Schumacher said. "The kids were very excited when we let them know and I have no doubts they'll do a great job in leading this team."
All four players are ticketed to be starters in tonight's game against their West Virginia counterparts.
Smelley, actually, will start both ways. He won the job to serve as the quarterback and he'll also roam at safety, which is where he earned all-Ohio accolades.
"To play on both sides of the ball to help the team out as much as possible means a lot to me," Smelley said. "I didn't expect, coming here, that I would get to play both ways. I figured I would be either a quarter or a safety and I am just glad to go both ways because I love both sides of the ball."
Smelley, who is the fourth member of his family to play in the game and third in the past two years, was humbled that his work ethic stood out to the coaches enough to earn the right to go both ways.
"I try to work hard and show the coaches that I am willing to do anything," Smelley said. "I've tried since our first practice to be a leader in practice, try to speak up a little bit and keep everything under control."
Dear, meanwhile, will start at one of the running back spots. He, too, has stood out during the week because of his approach to learning the offense and willingness to lead.
"It's an honor to be in this game," Dear said. "Just being chosen for this team is an honor and to be a starter is even better."
On the defensive side, Luke will start at linebacker and Houst, who many believe is the ultimate 'X' factor in the game, will line up at defensive end.