Ohio wins OVAC All-Star game with last minute heroics


Cambridge’s Stephen Ford dives for a TD that was called back due to holding.

The game was a defensive struggle for 46 minutes and 58 seconds but in the end Ohio earned bragging rights for one more year. The Ohio All-Stars came away with a 6-3 win over West Virginia in the 62nd annual Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Classic Sunday at Wheeling Island Stadium.

The game was a defensive struggle for 46 minutes and 58 seconds, but in the end Ohio kept bragging rights for one more year.

The Ohio All-Stars came away with a 6-3 win over the West Virginia All-Stars in the 62nd annual Rudy Mumley Ohio Valley Athletic Conference All-Star Classic on Sunday at Wheeling Island Stadium.

Ohio was pinned back on its own 8-yard line with just 62 seconds left and no timeouts thanks to a nice punt by John Marshall’s (W.Va.), Matt Deel. Deel had earlier knocked home a 36-yard field goal just before half to give West Virginia its only points of the contest.

The Ohio stars needed just one snap to take their first lead – and the final one – of the game.

Bellaire All-Ohioan Nick Rocchio hit Steubenville burner Maurice Bougard (Ohio’s Division II 100 and 200 meter state track champion) for a 92-yard trip to pay dirt. West Virginia decided to go man-to-man coverage on the outside with Bougard, and Rocchio saw it.

“When I saw the one-on-one coverage, I immediately started drooling,” Rocchio said

The pass was thrown to a spot and Bougard ran underneath.

After hauling in the aerial, the rest was history as no one was going to catch this blur. Bougard, who is on his way to Toledo, finished the play off with a head-first leap into the end zone. The point after was no good.

West Virginia had one last gasp of air with just under 50 seconds left in the game, but Ohio’s defense held.

After an incompletion and a short pass to Andy Goldbaugh (Wheeling Park), West Virginia’s Cy Mozingo (John Marshall) launched a desperation heave, which was picked off by East Liverpool’s Joey Wines.

The interception sealed Ohio’s third win in a row and its 12th victory in the last 13 years. The winning coach, Brett McLean (Brooke graduate) has been on both sides of this dominance.

“I knew West Virginia would be prepared to play this game,” McLean said. “This is what makes this game so awesome. I played in this game for West Virginia, and they have great football over there.”

Although he felt for the West Virginia kids, he was elated for his Ohio group.

“This whole week was great and the icing on the cake was getting out of here with a win,” said the St.Clairsville boss. “It was by the skin of our teeth, but I don’t care because we won, and that’s all that matters.”

Rocchio and Bouard combined to make the biggest play of the night, but others shined as well.

Cambridge’s All-Ohio tailback, Stephen Ford, ran for 85 yards on 24 totes. He also had a touchdown called back on a holding call. Bellaire’s Jayson Keyser hauled in five balls for 72 yards and Rocchio completed 21 of 37 passes for 265 yards and two interceptions. Bougard caught seven passes for 125 yards and ran for 50 yards on seven carries.

The Buckeye defense, which didn’t allow a single yard rushing, came up big.

The unit forced a fumble on the four-yard line in the first quarter, which was recovered by Martins Ferry’s Ryan Zann. Ohio only allowed 126 yards of passing with Mozingo completing 13 of 21 attempts. Goldbaugh snared seven balls for 95 yards.

Ohio’s defense was led by linebackers Jordan Traylinek (Bellaire) and Joe Pulver (Indian Creek) and lineman Paul Jefferis (Barnesville) and Ryan Mirich (Martins Ferry).

NOTEBOOK: On paper, it appeared the Ohio squad had a definitive edge in almost every category. As I’ve been shown time and time again, paper talk is worth nothing.  West Virginia used a blitzing defense and whole lot of heart to lead a game many thought would be a rout.

Many people would give the offensive MVP to Bougard of Steubenville and rightfully so, but I’m going with Ford of Cambridge. Ford is a very patient runner who waits for the hole to open. He has great feet, which gives him excellent balance. Pound-for-pound he is as good as they come. It didn’t hurt that he was running behind his high school teammate Johnny Nicolozakes. The big man pancaked defenders all night on the right side of the line.

The defensive MVP was a no brainer for me. Jordan Traylinek of Bellaire was hands down the best defensive player on the field for either squad. I thought this kid was the best football player all season in the Ohio Valley and he didn’t do anything to change my mind Sunday. Traylinek will play at West Liberty next season, but I really think some mid-major Division Is missed the boat with this kid.


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