Football banquet draws praise

“I was very impressed. The kids and director did an outstanding job,” Buddy James, former Parkersburg High School football coach, said.

“I think it was a superior job done by the students and Jeff (Totten) on an outstanding event,” Dwain Hartley, facilities director at the Parkersburg Art Center, said.

“I was impressed with the banquet,” Larry Parmiter, movie director-producer, said.

These are reactions to last Saturday’s inaugural Mid-Ohio Valley High School Football Awards banquet at the Parkersburg Art Center.

The banquet was provided by the nonprofit, educational MOV2Go Foundation to present awards to high school football players and coaches from West Virginia and Ohio. Three-hundred people attended the free by-invitation-only banquet.

Guest speakers were Jimmie Bell, former Ohio State University defensive tackle, and Major Harris, former West Virginia University quarterback. Belair’s Bistro and Catering of Belpre provided the meal.

High school students from Wood and Washington counties who participated in MOV2Go’s football broadcasting program this season organized and carried out Saturday’s banquet, said Jeff Totten of Little Hocking, president and chief executive officer of the MOV2Go Foundation.

Totten said he guided the students — “pointed them in the general direction” — as they provided photographs of high school football players for the exhibit rooms at the Parkersburg Art Center, decorated the banquet tables and worked on the audio and video for the awards and speakers presentations.

The students rolled out the red carpets for people as they entered the art center and again on the upstairs ballroom floor for the high school football honorees to walk across. Banquet tables were attractively decorated with black tablecloths and plastic gold-colored silverware and plates, along with a matching awards show paper program.

A gold curtain was set up at the podium and two large television screens were placed in the ballroom. The awards banquet was livestreamed on the internet. The banquet can be viewed at mov2go.net (click on High School Football Weekly).

A tribute to Alex Miller, the Roane County High School football player who died last September during a football game against Clay County, took place during the banquet.

Totten, as host of the awards presentation, said the theme of the banquet was “greatness.”

A committee comprised of MOV2Go Foundation Board members and sportswriters selected the high school football award winners.

Honored were special teams position, John McConnell of Morgantown High; defensive position, Sawyer Koons of Trimble High; offensive position, Alex Dunlevy of Wheeling Park High; people’s choice award, Danny Bush of Roane County High; academic player of the year, Griffin Devericks, Doddridge County High; conference cup, Little Kanawha Conference; coach of the year, Bobby Burnside, Doddridge County; lifetime achievement award, coach Mike DeVol of Belpre High School; all-around player of the year, Brandon Penn, Parkersburg South High; outstanding punter, John McConnell, Morgantown; outstanding kicker, Kaden Bay, Tri-Valley High; outstanding returner, Evan Gandee, Warren High; outstanding defensive lineman, C.J. Wade of Parkersburg High; outstanding linebacker, Nick Godfrey of Belpre High; outstanding defensive back, Brandon Penn, Parkersburg South; outstanding offensive lineman, Isiah Jones, Fort Frye High; outstanding receiver, Reece Perkins, John Glenn High; outstanding running back, Mark Rucker of Tyler Consolidated High, and outstanding quarterback, Kurt Taylor of Warren High.

Totten said the purpose of the MOV2Go Foundation is to teach local students about visual communication and to provide a creative outlet for them. “They can see and appreciate what they have created” through the broadcasting program, he said.

A 1986 graduate of Belpre High School, Totten spent 20 years in Los Angeles as an audio engineer for clients such as FOX, ESPN, ABC, NBC and TNT, mainly working in sports programming.

After retiring in September 2015, Totten returned to the Mid-Ohio Valley and established a studio at his home for the MOV2Go Network Broadcast Class, designed for high school students. High School Football Weekly is one of the programs produced by local high school students.

“The hope is to inspire youngsters to find their passion” and for them to pursue this interest, he said.

Totten said he plans to provide another Mid-Ohio Valley High School Football Awards banquet next year at the Parkersburg Art Center.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com