OVAC All-Star Football Game: Park players look forward to final ‘home’ game
BETHANY — When one gets selected for an all-star game, it’s always a magical moment. That player gets to strap on the pads and represent his school one final time before heading off to college. Just about every year, though, it becomes extra special for a group of atheltes to compete in the annual OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Game. With the game being played on Wheeling Island, four Patriots will not only represent Wheeling Park one last time, they’ll get to do it on their home field.
De’Vaughn McWhorter, Jermain Snodgrass, Jack Stakem and Ryan McCave will have that honor.
During 2018, the Patriots had no trouble producing points as they put up at least 30 in nine games. McWhorter and Stakem were both part of that success at wide receiver.
McWhorter hauled in 37 passes for 608 yards and found the end zone nine times. He was also a threat on special teams as he took three kickoffs to the house.
“It means a lot because I get to show my ex-teammates that there’s more to football after high school,” McWhorter said. “You can go to the next level and you can excel at the next level. You can do whatever you need to do. Go to college, get an education and it’s real nice to show them I was one of the leaders and they can be up next to do that. It’s a special feeling.”
On defense, McWhorter tallied 37 tackles including four for a loss, two sacks and 12 passes defended.
Stakem put together a nice stint at wide receiver as he received Second Team all-state honors.
He finished his career with over 100 catches (104) going for just under 1,500 receiving yards (1,496) and 18 touchdowns.
With so many catches under the receivers’ belts, they are looking forward to hauling in some passes on the island, like they’ve done so many times before.
“It’s super exciting. I get to go out there and play in front of my family one more time on the island,” Stakem, who is going to the University of Charleston, said. “I’m ready to go.”
On the defensive side, Snodgrass has been a force for the Patriots. Compiling over 220 tackles, he is ready to go one final time in a Park uniform.
“I love it,” Snodgrass said. “The energy there is amazing. I know everybody is going to come out for one final round. It’s amazing. I can’t wait.”
For Snodgrass and McWhorter, camp almost felt like home to them as they will both attend Bethany College to play football for the Bison.
“I’m having a blast. De’Vaughn, we’re going to Bethany up here,” Snodgrass said. “And we know more about the place than most people. We know around campus and we’re going to show how it is.”
Added McWhorter: “It feels natural because we’ve had this bond that we were brothers and TWBAI since freshman year and we’ve all stuck together and stuck it out.”
And scoring at ease last year for the Patriots wouldn’t be possible without their offensive line. That’s where McCave succeeded. With the help of McCave and the offensive line, Wheeling Park was able to compile 2,658 yards on the ground.
While McCave won’t be too far away when he heads off to play for West Liberty, McCave is ready to play coming out of the locker room one final time, like he did every Friday for the past couple of years.
“It’s a great relief to say the least. It’s home turf, home field, home town and it’s quite awesome to play,” McCave said. “I’m kind of glad that I can represent myself one last time for my community.”