Depew sets W.Va. backfield for OVAC Game

When B.J. Depew and his staff sat down to begin picking the roster for the Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Game, they had plenty of options to pick from.

Especially as it pertained to the backfield.

Depew has named his intended quarterbacks and running backs for the game, which is slated for Sunday, July 27 at Wheeling Island Stadium.

Slated to battle for action at quarterback are Wheeling Park’s Zach Phillips and Linsly’s Jameson Murray.

“The quarterbacks we have are able to hurt you running just as well as they can throwing,” Depew said. “Those were the kinds of guys we looked or. We’re pleased that they fit that mold and all are more than capable passers as they showed during their seasons.”

Vying for carries out of the backfield will be Wheeling Central’s C.J. Burch, Madonna’s Eliott Nero and Morgantown’s Chazzy Thomas.

“There was a deep pool of running backs in West Virginia in this senior class,” Depew said. “We think we have some real home-run threats. Some guys who can be game changers. Plus, we have some depth and interchangeable guys, which is a luxury.”

Here’s a capsule look at the players:

C.J. BURCH, Wheeling Central – This former Maroon Knight did a little bit of everything for Coach Mike Young’s squad during his prep career.

He saw time at running back, quarterback and wide receiver. He accounted for 45 touchdowns during his career, including 34 rushing scores. He ran for 2,760 yards, passed for 814 and caught 15 balls for 196 yards.

A part of two state championship squads, Burch was recognized as all-state and all-OVAC during his career.

Along with football, he was also a member of the Maroon Knights’ basketball and baseball teams.

Away from athletics, Burch was a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, attended West Virginia Boys States, served in Peer Ministry and on the yearbook staff.

C.J., who plans to attend Glenville State, is the son of John and Jorie Burch of Windsor Heights.

JAMESON MURRAY, Linsly – This quarterback had a brilliant senior season for Depew and the Cadets.

The 5-10, 180 pounder completed 139-of-234 passes for 2,014 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was intercepted just six times. He was also a talented runner, accumulating 385 yards and scoring twice on 64 carries.

Murray was an all-OVAC selection for his efforts.

Along with football, Murray was an all-conference performer in basketball and baseball as well.

Jameson, who is undecided about his collegiate future, is the son of Jim and Kelly Murray of Beallsville.

ELIOTT NERO, Madonna – The explosive Blue Dons’ offense was partly because of the work of this talented running back.

The 5-11, 195 pounder was a standout on both sides of the ball for Coach Doug Taylor’s team. He ran for 1,902 yards on 203 carries. He caught 28 balls for 503 yards and had 401 yards in returns. All told, he gained 2,906 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, he made 68 tackles, 12 sacks and 10 tackles for loss.

For his efforts, he was named first-team all-state, all-OVAC and all-Valley.

Away from football, Nero was a member of the National Honor Society, SADD, Prayer Club, Weirton Youth Leadership and Lend-A-Hand.

Elliott, who is the son of Blake and Theresa Nero of Hookstown, Pa., will attend Mt. Union.

ZACH PHILLIPS, Wheeling Park – This quarterback will go down as one of the all-time greats to play the position for the Patriots.

The 6-2, 185 pounder helped lead head coach Chris Daugherty’s team to the Class AAA state semifinals after establishing five new school records at Park. He finished his career with nearly 4,000 yards passing and 35 touchdowns.

Phillips was a first-team all-state, all-OVAC, all-TRAC and all-Valley selection.

Last month, Phillips took part in the North-South Game.

Also shining in the classroom, Phillips was a member of the National Honor Society and all-OVAC Academic Team.

Zach, who is the son of Keith and Terry Phillips, plans on attending Gannon University to play football.

CHAZZY THOMAS, Morgantown – This former Mohigan had a season to remember in 2013 for head coach John Bowers’ team.

The 5-9, 190 pounder ran for 2,108 yards and 30 touchdowns on 174 carries from his tailback spot.

Thomas was recognized as the Kennedy Award winner, which is given to the premier prep football player in the Mountain State. He was also the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year and a first-team all-state pick and captained the offensive squad.

Along with football, Thomas lettered in track and field.

Chazzy, who is the son of Denise Lee and Jamie Thomas, will attend Fairmont State.