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OVAC All-Star Game: QB-WR duos help with familiarity issues

Updated: Thursday, July 24 2014, 03:48 PM EDT

BETHANY, W.Va. – Familiarity is generally a scarce commodity surrounding the annual OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football game.
It’s difficult to learn a new system in a week, even if it is a watered down version of itself.
For quarterbacks like Zach Phillips (West Virginia) and Brenton Colabella (Ohio), having your top receiver from high school is a source of comfort.
Phillips will have the luxury of throwing to fellow Wheeling Park grad Eric Banks, while Colabella will surely be looking in the direction of Steubenville Catholic teammate Ryan Fletcher.
“We have so much chemistry on that field and as friends,” Banks said. “(Phillips) knows what I’m thinking. When the ball is in flight, I know what he’s thinking. I feel like together on that team on that field, we’ll make magic happen.”
Colabella didn’t get that flashy with his words, but he’s someone who usually does his talking with his arm, having finished his prep career as one of the top throwing quarterbacks in OVAC history.
“We’ve been throwing together for three years,” Colabella said. “He’s a great player, and (it will be) fun to play with him in my last game in high school.”

Home game
Banks grew up in the shadows of Wheeling Island Stadium and had been playing football there with the Little Patriots since he was 6 or 7 years old. It used to be that he simply dreamed to play in the game, but he’s ramped those thoughts up a bit.
“I want to go out with a bang,” he said. “My goal for this game is, honestly, to win the MVP. I’m going to put everything on the line for this game. I really want to win this game. I believe the West Virginia team can hold it down this game.
“You’d hear a lot of noise if I won the MVP. I know my grandma would probably make the most of it. I’m excited.”

Pass Happy
Colabella, clearly, is used to a passing offense. He threw for more than 7,000 yards in high school. This week, he gets to play in an offense that produced an 8,000-yard passer.
So it’s kind of a big deal for a pass-happy QB to be playing for a guy like Ohio head coach Jose Davis, another of the OVAC’s all-time greats who coaches the way he played.
“(I’ve enjoyed) learning the progressions in his offense and just how fun it is to play in his offense,” Colabella said. “You’re throwing the ball every play. We’re going to run here and there, but it’s a passing offense.
“I have a bunch of great receivers to throw to, bunch of skill guys who can get the ball and space and run.”

The enemy?
While Davis is now wearing the green and white at St. John, he’s coaching this game because of what he was able to accomplish at Bellaire.
Now he’s coaching players from Martins Ferry, the Big Reds’ biggest rival.
Luke Straub, a lineman from Martins Ferry who was selected to play in the game, says Bellaire and Martins Ferry can co-exist.
“Yes, it’s fine,” he said.
But there are the kinds of differences you’d expect from programs that haven’t liked each other for more than 100 years.
“It’s a lot different learning their playbook over ours,” Straub said. “We’re a running team. They pass the ball every play.”

OVAC All-Star Game: QB-WR duos help with familiarity issues

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