Ripley’s Josh Kay, defense kept Mountain State within striking distance

Ripley’s Kay, defense kept Mountain State within striking distance

Photo by Tyler Bennett West Virginia’s Josh Kay takes a breather between snaps during Friday’s Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis All-Star Football Classic at Bill Hanlin Stadium in St. Marys. Kay was named West Virginia’s Most Valuable Player.

ST. MARYS — Giving up a 162 total yards in the first half, including a 45-yard touchdown catch-and-run to Monroe Central’s Zac Jones and only having 34 totals yards going into halftime themselves, the West Virginia all-stars came out of the locker room focused, only allowing 92 total yards and having two takeaways in the second half. However, W.Va. was unable to overcome that early touchdown, falling to Ohio in a hard nosed, grit-n-grind 7-0 loss during the 26th Annual Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis All-Start Football Classic Friday night at Bill Hanlin Stadium.

Ohio’s running back Jesse Collins was a thorn in the Mountaineers side in the first half, racking up 73 yards on 16 carries. He couldn’t get much going in the second, running for 40 yards on seven carries,the majority of which came on an 18-yard run in the third quarter.

Ohio’s only big play of the second half was Southern’s quarterback Logan Drummer finding Marietta’s Tanner Stack for a 49-yard pass.

“It was awesome, it’s a charity game and a 7-0 score is not bad for us,” Parkersburg Catholic and West Virginia coach Lance Binegar said. “We had a good time, We had people flying around everywhere and I told them in halftime just have fun with it. It’s your last time as a high school football player. I’m proud of them.”

Ohio was marching down the field in the second quarter, but an untimely fumble by Ohio occurred and Ravenswood’s linebacker Luke Jackson jumped on it, recovering the ball for the West Virginia side.

Jackson split time as punter. He averaged 36.2 yards on five punts.

“It was a great game, both sides played hard on D. We couldn’t get anything going on offense during the first couple of quarters. We picked up a couple of first downs in the second half and held them scoreless,” Jackson said, “Playing for a cause to find a cure is the main part. Football can go to the side, but seeing kids with CF. If you don’t know much about it you need to look it up. It’s a pretty bad situation that they are in.”

Near midfield and with the second quarter entering the final seconds, Doddridge County’s Jordan Owens clobbered Ohio’s quarterback Drummer to cough it up.

Belpre’s Gavyn Freeland covered the ball, but Ohio was unable to capitalize as there was one second on the clock, keeping the score at 7-0 going into halftime.

West Virginia showed signs of life in the fourth, as Paden City’s Michael Shreves intercepted Drummer’s pass early in the stanza.

West Virginia went four-and-out on the next drive, but got the ball right back off a bad snap from Ohio. Ritchie County’s Bailey Riddle was on the bottom of the pile with the ball.

Starting out at running back, Parkersburg Catholic’s Ty Strum switched to quarterback in the second half and went on to lead the Mountaineers on a last second drive with his arms and legs.

But his final attempt to Ritchie County’s Gabe Ray for a touchdown pass was broken up by Boone Jones in the end zone.

Sturm’s final stats were 44 passing yards on six completions and 14 rushing yards on 14 attempts.

“Just to see the heart of everyone. It was great coming and playing against the best competition around the state. It was definitely the most exciting football I’ve been a part of,” Sturm said. “The guys you come across with during the five days of practice, and to pull together to have this and this big of a push. It was great.”

Ripley’s RJ Evans was leading rusher for West Virginia, racking up 23 yards on 13 carries.

St. Marys’ Dakota Sampson was the leading receiver, catching three balls and racking up 34 yards.

Ripley Viking and future Marietta College Pioneer safety Josh Kay was named the MVP for the Mountaineers.

“It’s a great experience, there is a lot of great players on our team and I’m very honored to win this award over some of those guys,” Kay later said on what playing in the BACF meant to him, “I learned that when people come together for a special cause, a lot of special things came happen. We raised a lot of money for a very rare disease that affects a lot of people. I hope we helped them out tonight.”