OVAC All-Star Game camp opens at Bethany

BETHANY – All-star week is officially under way.

Sixty-five all-stars reported to begin camp for the 68th annual Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic Sunday afternoon.

All 33 members of the Ohio squad were present and accounted for, while one of the chosen West Virginia players didn’t report and since he didn’t inform any members of the Mountaineer coaching staff ahead of Sunday, he was unable to be replaced.

“We had a few when we were picking the team that couldn’t play for one reason or another, but once we got the team picked, all of the guys have been on board,” said Ohio and Shadyside head coach Mark Holenka. “Everyone showed up and we’re excited to get started.”

Outside of the one no-show, West Virginia and Wheeling Central head coach Young, who has served as the head coach for both states, is anxious to get started.

“There’s a lot of paperwork, meetings and we wondered if some kids were going to make it or not, but we’ve got a great group of kids on both squads,” Young said. “This should be a real great football game and a great way to kick off the 2013 season.”

For Holenka, it’s his first time coaching in the all-star game in any capacity.

He admitted that he didn’t sleep as well Saturday evening because he was excited to get started toward this Sunday’s game at Wheeling Island Stadium.

“As it progresses to this day, you’re really thinking about it a lot, but I really started to get excited the last couple of days,” Holenka said. “It has to be the same for these young men. There’s a lot of tossing and turning during the night.”

The teams spent much of Sunday afternoon going through meetings, over rules and undergoing physicals. Both coaches led their teams through their first practice Sunday evening.

“We just did a few basic things and tried to get to know all of the kids,” Holenka said. “We were able to put in some schemes and try to let them know what to expect, so we can set up the rest of the practices to be a little more full go.”

Young and the Mountaineer staff spent much of Sunday evening getting to know their players.

“We wanted to be able to put names with faces for both us and the players themselves,” Young said. “We wanted to welcome them and explain to them what’s going to be required of them this week both as players and as young men.”

Similarly to Ohio, the West Virginia squad went through more of a walk through practice where basic offensive, defensive specialty concepts were introduced.

“We want the kids to get a feel for how we do our offense, defense and special teams,” Young said. “We want to give them as much information as we can.”

After a morning practice today, the players and coaches will go through media day activities. Both will practice at least once more today.

According to Young, he and Holenka worked out a practice schedule so both teams could conduct all of their practices on the artificial turf at the Bison’s football complex, instead of one team having to make the lengthy walk to the Bethany baseball field.

The teams will have two fairly quiet days on the Bison campus, but on Wednesday the McDonald’s OVAC All-Star Band reports to begin its preparations. The all-star cheerleaders report on Thursday.