OV trio has solid opener for WVU

West Virginia University’s season didn’t begin the way the Mountaineers or their loyal fanbase had envisioned when they fell to Virginia Tech, 31-24.

Area Mountaineer fans, however, could probably find a little bit of solace in the fact that three former OVAC standouts — Colton McKivitz, Brendan Ferns and Josh Sills — not only played in the game, but turned in solid performances.

McKivitz — who is a Union Local graduate — garnered the most praise after he opened with what appeared to be basically a flawless performance at right tackle. He was named to the week 1 all Big 12 team as chosen by Pro Football Focus’ College staff. He graded out at 88.1, which was the second highest rating of the five offensive lineman named.

Ferns, meanwhile, returned to the field for live action for the first time since his senior season at St. Clairsville in 2015. He suffered a torn ACL during fall camp last summer and red shirted. He saw time on special teams and stepped in at linebacker during the second half. He recorded his first collegiate tackle during the game, too.

Sills, who red shirted last season, stepped in at right guard and played a lot of snaps, especially in critical moments such as the game’s final drive. Actually, he lined up right next to McKivitz during those drives.

Here’s a look at other area products and how they fared during the opening weekend of college sports:


Division I

AUSTIN DORRIS, Indiana — The Shadyside graduate played on special teams and saw time at tight end in the Hoosiers’ loss to Ohio State.

ROSS COMIS, UMass — Madonna graduate completed 2-of-4 passes for 46 yards. He also rushed for 9 yards in a loss to Coastal Carolina.

ELIJIAH BELL, North Carolina A&T — Wheeling Park product caught 5 passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns. His scoring receptions covered 35 and 8 yards.

JERRID MARHEFKA, Ohio — St. Clairsville graduate caught one pass for 19 yards in the Bobcats’ win.

CHUCKWUDI CHUCKWU, Ohio — Ex-Linsly standout recorded three tackles and recovered a fumble in the Bobcats’ win.

THOMAS COLE, Wake Forest — Brooke product appeared in his first collegiate game after red shirting last season.

Division II

MATT KINNICK, West Virginia State — Fifth-year senior from St. Clairsville opened his final season in impressive fashion, completing 22-of-27 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 43 yards. In the process, he became W.Va. State’s all-time leader in career passing yards and tied the touchdown pass record at 51.

ROBERT VARGO, Ohio Dominican — Martins Ferry product started at right tackle in the ODU loss to California, Pa.

MATT BARBOUR, Ohio Dominican — Martins Ferry graduate played in the loss to Cal, Pa.

SHYOUN PETTEWAY, Ohio Dominican — Steubenville graduate posted three tackles in his first college game.

COLE SKAGGS, West Virginia Wesleyan — St. Clairsville graduate played in his first collegiate game after red shirting last season for the Bobcats.

ZACH PHILLIPS, Gannon — Wheeling Park graduate was 19-of-26 passing for 177 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a score in a win against Southern Connecticut State.

GEREMY PAIGE, Gannon — Wheeling Park product posted 10 tackles and picked off a pass in the season-opening victory.

MATT HACKATHORN, Gannon — Wheeling Park graduate started at right tackle. He also had a tackle.

COREY ERNEST, West Liberty — St. Clairsville started his final season as a starter along the offensive line for the Hilltoppers.

BRENTON COLABELLA, West Liberty — Steubenville Central graduate completed 18-of-25 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

TREVOR HARDESTY, West Liberty — John Marshall graduate played in the Hilltoppers’ season-opening win.

CLIFFORD CLARK, West Liberty — Cambridge graduate posted five tackles in last week’s win.

CHANCE RUCKER, West Liberty — Caldwell graduate started at right tackle for the Hilltoppers.

CHALMER MOFFETT, West Liberty — Wheeling Park product caught two passes for 14 yards in WLU’s victory.

AUSTIN WHIPKEY, West Liberty — Linsly graduate played in the win last week.

KYLE RITZ, West Liberty — Magnolia product played in the Toppers’ win.

CODY RINE, West Liberty — Brooke graduate was charted for three tackles in last week’s win.

ZACH CONNOR, West Liberty — Indian Creek product recorded a tackle in the win.

SAVION JOHNSON, West Liberty — Wheeling Park product appeared in his first game with the Hilltoppers last week.

VONDELL BELL, California, Pa. — Wheeling Park graduate had one tackle in last week’s win against Ohio Dominican.

Division III

CHASE KINEMOND, Bethany — Shadyside graduate completed 12-of-32 passes for 134 yards in a loss to Ursinus. He also rushed for 32 yards. He punted eight times for a 40.3 yard average with a long of 48 yards.

DALTON SECHREST, Marietta — Beallsville graduate had a big game, posting nine tackles and half a sack during the Pioneers’ win against Geneva.

TANNER CLARK, Marietta — Caldwell graduate rushed 16 times for 77 yards and caught 2 passes for 9 yards, including a touchdown.

GAGE GIOVENGO, Marietta — Linsly graduate caught a pass for 6 yards in his collegiate debut.

CASEY LEWIS, Marietta — Fort Frye product had one tackle in his first game with the Pioneers.

LUCAS HERRINGTON, Mount Union — Steubenville graduate caught a pass for 7 yards.

BRETT ROSEN, Muskingum — River graduate appeared in the Muskies’ victory against Waynesburg.

DEMITREE TURNER, Muskingum — Union Local alumnus recorded a tackle in the Muskies’ shutout of Waynesburg.

CHRISTIAN WITCHEY, St. Vincent’s — St. Clairsville graduate punted five times for 163 yards and had a long of 47 yards and dropped one inside the 20 yard line.

VON WOODING, Oberlin — Linsly graduate was all over the field in his team’s win. He had 10 tackles, two for loss, forced a fumble, broke up a pass and had a sack.

HAYDEN GAUS, Kenyon — Linsly alum posted four tackles, including one for loss in his team’s loss.


JACOB BISHOP, Wheeling Jesuit — Martins Ferry product was the Cardinals’ top finisher at Cal, Pa. He ran 31:25 for the 8K race en route to finishing eighth overall.

ZACH HENRY, Wheeling Jesuit — Harrison Central graduate finished 12th in his first collegiate meet, running 31:59.

SHAYE BECKETT, California, Pa. — Bellaire graduate turned in a 10th place finish in 28:31 and was her team’s fifth runner.

MEGAN BATEMAN, California, Pa. — Union Local alumnus finished 23rd in her first college meet, crossing the line in 30:20.

KELSEY CHAMBERS, Wheeling Jesuit — Oak Glen product was eighth at Cal, Pa. in a time of 27:13.

FALLON DOYLE, Wheeling Jesuit — St. John Central graduate was 17th at the Cal, Pa. meet in 31:57.

JENNA FURR, Wheeling Jesuit — Caldwell graduate was 16th in 31:05 for the Cardinals.

JORDAN DELANEY, Wheeling Jesuit — Magnolia product was 20th overall at Cal in 32:37.

ALBERT SCHRIMP, Wheeling Jesuit — Wheeling Park graduate was 10th in the Cal, Pa. meet in 31:27.


MIRANDA PLUMLY, Muskingum — Barnesville standout is off to an impressive start for the undefeated Muskies. She has 37 kills, nine digs and 39 points.

EMMA LEWIS, Muskingum — St. Clairsville graduate has appeared in matches for the Muskies.

If you know of someone competing in a fall sport at the collegiate level that I haven’t listed, please email me at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com