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Ohio hangs on to win OVAC All-Star Game

Updated: Monday, July 28 2014, 01:06 AM EDT

By JIM ELLIOTT
WTOV9.com
WHEELING, W.Va. -- West Virginia, which had trailed by as many as 20 points late in the first half, battled back and was threatening to take a late lead in the OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football game presented by WTOV9 on Sunday at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Ohio linebacker Chris Littell had different ideas.
The Mountaineers went for it on a 4th-and-inches midway through the final quarter just 34 yards away from going ahead for the first time all night. Littell shot a gap, dove, and swallowed up West Virginia’s Trevor Hardesty for a 2-yard loss.
While the Mountaineers did get one last chance, Littell had just obliterated what was really their best shot.
“Actually, it wasn’t even a blitz, but we just needed momentum big time,” Littell said. “We were on our back foot, and they were just pushing us and pushing us.
“I called that play myself, but I couldn’t do that without the big men up front. You got those big five on five and it was just a clear alley.”
Ohio coach Jose Davis said it was simply a case of a football player being a football player.
“We always talk about as football players, you don’t want to be a robot,” Davis said. “Sometimes you have to think outside the box. That wasn’t something that we worked on all week. That was something he came up. He made the play.”
West Virginia coach  BJ Depew, who spent half the night trying to figure out how to stay away from guys like Littell and game MVP Dalton Secrest, sought Littell out in the handshake line.
“I shook his hand after the game and told him that was a big difference,” Depew said. “That’s what an all-star game is about. You’re going to have plays come up that wouldn’t normally happen in a game.”
That there wound up being late-game heroics was something of a surprise, given Ohio scored on three of its first four drives and quarterback Brenton Colabella had more than 200 passing yards and three touchdowns before halftime.
Colabella started by hitting Rich Springer for 37 yards for a score. Then Chez Glenn powered his way in from 8 yards out.
West Virginia scored its only touchdown of the first half on a 31-yard connection between QB Zach Phillips and Jared Yates before Colabella found a pair of Bellaire guys for two more scores (Kenny Hess, 22 yards) and Brendon Ross (6 yards).
Colabella wound completing 17 of 27 passes for 238 yards and the three touchdowns without an interception. He didn’t know the numbers would look so good, but he knew, in Davis’ offense, the chances would be there.
“We threw it around all week in practice,” Colabella said. “I made a joke that Coach Davis had to run some scout team for me because my arm was hurting. I knew we would throw the ball.”
Ohio was so dominant, it threatened to go up 30-14 at halftime when a last-second field goal was off the mark. The Buckeyes had outgained the Mountaineers 260-67 in the first half and West Virginia had minus 9 rushing yards to that point.
West Virginia wasn’t done, though. And to an extent, Ohio was. The Buckeyes did not score in the second half.
Will Bowser keyed the comeback with a 77-yard fumble return for a touchdown with less than a minute before halftime. And Hardesty added touchdown runs of 1 and 2 yards to get West Virginia to within a single score late in the third quarter and early in the fourth.
“They kept us off the field, so when you look at that part of it, it was the vice-versa of the first half,” Davis said. “We probably doubled or tripled their plays in the first half, and I think it kinda flip flopped in the second half.”
Added Depew: “We didn’t give up a point in the second half. I give our defense so much credit because (Colabella) did have some success, and their receivers did a great job. Rather than start doubting ourselves, we regrouped and rallied and came up with a tremendous second half defensive performance.”
After the Littell play, West Virginia got the ball back for one last shot at its 17 with 3:28 to go. The Mountaineers advanced into Ohio territory at the 33 before a sack and three incompletions ended things.
Phillips completed 18 of 32 passes for 178 yards. His favorite target was Lavonte Hampton, who caught six passes for 86 yards.
“That was a tremendous all-star game,” Depew said. “I give both teams a lot of credit. There were so many big plays, so many opportunities, and so many missed opportunities. I think every kid involved should feel proud. We came up a point short, which of course hurts, but nobody is hanging their head. The kids were talking in the huddle and they were proud of each other. That’s anything a coach could ever ask for.”

Ohio 27, West Virginia 26
Ohio                         14  13  0  0 -- 27
West Virginia          0    14  6  6 -- 26
O – Springer 37 pass from Colabella (Musilli kick), 9:38
O – Glenn 8 run (Musilli kick), 5:08
W – Yates 31 pass from Phillips (Casey kick), 9:53
O – Hess 22 pass from Colabella (Musilli kick), 6:35
O – Ross 6 pass from Colabella (kick failed), 1:19
W – Bowser 77 fumble recovery (Casey kick), 0:53
W – Hardesty 2 run (kick failed), 3:23
W – Hardesty 1 run (kick failed), 10:20
Rushing: Ohio 23-44-td (Ross 1-2, Roar 5-15, Moxley 5-7, Colabella 7 (-3), Glenn 3-15-td, Lapp 2-8). West Virginia 32-91-2td (Phillips 14-38, Hardesty 10-19-2td, Nero 4-13, Burch 2-17, Paige 1-1, Smith 1-3).
Passing: Ohio 17-27-238-3td (all by Colabella). West Virginia 18-32-178-td-x (all by Phillips).
Receiving: Ohio 17-238-3td (Fletcher 6-72, Springer 1-37-td, Ross 3-28-td, Glen 1-2, Roar 1-9, Hess 3-45-td, Olmstead 1-38, Lapp 1-7. West Virginia 18-178-td (Hampton 6-86, Banks 3-14, Burch 5-26, Anderson 1-1, Yates 1-31, Murray 1-7, Hardesty 1-13).
First Downs: Ohio 10; West Virginia 14.
Penalties: Ohio 6-52; West Virginia 5-40.

Ohio hangs on to win OVAC All-Star Game


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