By KIM NORTH
Times Leader Sports Writer
A trio of Ohio Valley football players will continue their academic and athletic careers at Muskingum University in New Concord this coming fall.
Travis James of Union Local; River’s Brett Rosen; and Buckeye Local’s Steve Sable chose the Muskies program to compete in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Muskingum is led by head coach Al Logan, a former Barnesville standout and graduate. He was named the 2009 OAC Coach of the Year.
JAMES, a 5-8, 184-pounder, will most likely play safety for the Muskies, according to Union Local head coach Bruce Stiles.
“Muskingum is a great fit for Travis,” Stiles remarked. “He’s a really good kid who made major strides for us this past season.”
According to the Jets’ head coach, James was a wide receiver heading into camp last summer. However, when the No. 1 quarterback didn’t come out and the No. 2 went down with a knee injury, James was thrust into the spotlight.
“He had us at 3-0 before he suffered a concussion,” Stiles recalled. “We weren’t the same team without him at quarterback.”
James passed for 610 yards on 54 of 116. He had six TDs, but was picked off 11 times. He also rushed 93 times for 284 yards and four six-pointers.
“Travis has really been working out in the weight room,” Stiles offered. “He’s really starting to fill out. I think his best football is ahead of him.”
James, who was UL’s Player of the Year and MVP in 2013, is the son of Todd and Melissa James of Bethesda.
ROSEN, a 5-9, 198-pounder, was a very versatile performer for head coach Mike Flannery and the Pilots.
He was a two-way standout in the trenches his senior season. He graded out at 90 percent as an offensive lineman and charted 32 solo tackles and 61 assists as a defensive lineman. He also recorded made six tackles for minus yardage and had 2.5 quarterback sacks. His one fumble recovery resulted in a touchdown.
“I’m really excited for Brett,” Flannery expressed. “He’s one of those kids, as a coach, No. 1 you appreciate what he brings to the table and, as the parent of a player on the team, the role model that he provided during his senior season.
“Brett played on a young team his senior year,” Flannery added. “We got off to an 0-5 start, but he was a leader every day. He could play on any team that I’ve coached.”
As far as a position in college, Flannery said nothing had been mentioned, but he could be utilized as an I-back.
He is the son of Taffany and Travis Rosen of Powhatan Point.
SABLE, a 6-3, 210-pounder, could be a diamond in the rough for Logan and the Muskies.
He only played one season for head coach Phil Pest and the Panthers, but that one season was one to remember.
Starting at defensive end, Sable finished with 29 solo tackles and 27 assists, which earned him all-OVAC Class 4A and second team all-District Division II.
“For a first year player, he had a heck of a season for us,” Pest said. “I’m very happy for him and I think he has a lot of football ahead of him.
“He had a great senior season for us,” Pest said. “He has been working really hard in the weight room to get ready for the next level.”
He is the son of James and Cecelia Sable of Rayland.
Muskingum will open the season Saturday, Sept. 6 at Waynesburg University in a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.