W.Va. was a ‘Dear’ in head lights against Ohio run game

Nothing runs like a Dear.

Except if its first name is Josten.

The former Buckeye Local tailback ran the ball two dozen times for 149 yards and a touchdown Sunday night as Ohio rallied from a 14-13 halftime deficit to win the 67th annual Rudy Mumley Ohio Valley Athletic Conference All-Star Football Charity Classic, 33-14, at overflowing Wheeling Island Stadium.

For his efforts, the West Liberty University-bound Dear was named the game’s Most Valuable Player in an on-line vote by fans.

“This feels amazing,” Dear said amid the celebration of Buckeye State players and fans. “I’ve been watching this game since I was six years old, and to be the MVP is just a shock.”

Dear’s touchdown, which came on a 3-yard burst to open the scoring late in the first quarter, gave Ohio a 6-0 lead.

“That’s something I will always remember,” the soft-spoken Dear advised.

His ground assault was a big part of Ohio’s domination along the front line as the Buckeye Staters ran for 313 stripes on nearly 60 carries (58) and four six-pointers. The other three TDs belonged to Dashaun Lewis, of Cambridge, who picked up 118 yards on 24 totes.

Like a good running back always does, Dear gave praise to the offensive line.

“The line blocked amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better line,” he lauded. “The Ohio Valley has a whole lot of athletes.”

Dear could’ve had another touchdown in the third quarter, but after carrying inside the West Virginia 5, he was stripped off the pigskin. It landed in the end zone where, after a wild scramble, his Buckeye local teammate Jordan Piergallini emerged with it for the final touchdown of the game.

“I was just glad that someone on our team was able to come up with it,” Dear added.

Piergallini, who is best friends with Dear, was just glad to help out.

“I told Josten that I always have his back. I blocked for him in high school as our fullback. He was a workhorse then and he was a workhorse today.”

A PAIR of former Bridgeport standouts enjoyed fine performances in their final scholastic contest.

It was just like his high school days for Cole Smelley. He hardly ever left the field, but that was okay to him.

“I like playing on both sides of the ball,” he admitted.

Smelley was the starting quarterback for Ohio, as well as the starter at free safety. He carried the ball seven times for 31 yards, but one run in particular (a 22-yard jaunt) showcased his athletic ability as he dazzled a handful of Mountain State defenders with a couple of spin moves.

Mike Dalto, who was a two-way terror as a Bulldog, lined up on the offensive line and made his presence known on just about every snap he was on the field.

The 6-2, 260-pound Dalto bypassed college to take a job in the mine apprenticeship program, admitted that playing in the game gave him a slight taste for the sport again.

“I’d like to play (in college),” he said. “But, I’ve got a nice opportunity ahead of me.”

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com