Greg Adams will coach the Ohio team in the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis Football Classic at 7 p.m. Friday at Stadium Field, and the veteran head coach of the Belpre Golden Eagles will go to battle with a very deep team that consists of no less than 28 players who were either All-District or All-State honorees.
The Ohio side will be looking to improve on a 7-13 record in the Classic including last year's 33-13 loss to the West Virginia squad at Don Drumm Stadium.
"We are looking very good in practice and I am real pleased with the enthusiasm," said Adams, who will be the head coach for the first time in the Classic and assisted by his Belpre coaching staff. "I like the unity and they are playing hard and they want to win."
MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times
Ohio BACF quarterback Chandler Lang (of Fort Frye), left, hands off to a running back during a practice session at Don Drumm Stadium.
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times
The Ohio BACF all-stars warm up before a practice at Don Drumm. The Ohio standouts are scheduled to play West Virginia’s stars at Parkersburg High’s Stadium Field Friday night.
Adams plans to use three quarterbacks in the classic as Fort Frye's Chandler Lang, Marietta's Anthony Kimbrough and Warren's Austin Klintworth all figure to take snaps behind center.
The Ohio squad is equally deep at the running back position with the likes of Jordan Sapp from River, Delbert Crum and Peyton Seel from Federal Hocking and former Eastern Eagle running back Zach Scowden.
Mike Jones from Monroe Central gives the Ohio side a solid option at the full back position while Caldwell's Andrew Minosky, Belpre's D.J. Leftwich and River's Bryce Cross could also see carries.
When the Buckeye team puts the ball in the air, the trio of quarterbacks will also have plenty of options including Monroe Central's Bryan Duffy, Frontier's Dylan Absher, Shenandoah's Tanner Moore and a pair of Fort Frye Cadets in Colten Shuster and Zach Pritchard.
Warren's David Ryan leads a contingent of quality tight ends that also consists of C.J. Huck from Fort Frye and Damon Jones from Meigs.
The Caldwell Redskins won a playoff game for the first time in over 100 years last fall largely due to a strong offensive line and they are represented well in the classic with three lineman on the roster.
Alexis Cubas, Zach Miller and Austin Schockling will be joined on the line by the likes of Austin Kimble from Frontier, Matt Morris from Marietta, Grant Krigbaum from Morgan, Devin Sills from Shenandoah and Gunnar Smith from Warren.
The Fort Frye Cadets captured the Pioneer Valley Conference in 2013 and a pair of lineman from that team in Drew Layton and Garrett Hall should also see time in the trenches.
The PVC is well represented as no less than 22-of-the-40 kids on the Ohio roster played in the conference that sent no less than three teams to the playoffs in 2013.
Former Marietta Tiger Brent Huck was selected to the team to be the teams kicker and is also in the mix to handle the punting duties.
As is the case in many All-Star games, the defense has the early jump on the offense in practice for the Buckeyes.
"The defense is ahead of the offense because of the timing, and we have a lot of hitters and guys who really play their positions well," said defensive coordinator Dirk Leftwich. "You just kind of turn them loose and let them have a lot of free reign."
Mike Jones, who will be one of the linebackers for the Ohio squad, is looking forward to getting the chance to get back on the field.
"It's going to be fun but it's also going to be a challenge," said Jones, who will have a lot of help in the middle of the field on defense from the likes of Lang, Crum, and Minosky among others. "West Virginia is going to have a really good team and I'm really exited to get to play in a game with such a great cause."
West Virginia has won six of the last eight meetings but the last time the two met at Stadium Field, the Buckeyes scored a dominating 48-0 victory.
Regardless of the outcome, the game is sure to be a win-win situation for everyone involved in the Classic.
"The bottom line is all these guys are out here playing for a great cause," said Adams. "I hope that the community from all of these high schools really come out and we load the stadium up and raise a lot of money for the BACF."