WHEELING - It's true, nothing does run like a Dear - a Josten Dear that is.
The Buckeye Local product rambled for 149 yards and a touchdown as Ohio smashed West Virginia 33-14 in the 67th-annual Rudy Mumley Ohio Valley Athletic Conference All-Star Charity Football Classic Sunday at Wheeling Island Stadium.
For his efforts, the West Liberty University-bound Dear, who ran for more than 1,200 stripes and 16 scores as a senior, was named the game's most valuable player.
GREAT NIGHT — Buckeye Local’s Josten Dear (32) runs for some of his game-high 149 yards while Brooke’s Gio Fuscardo tries to make a play during Sunday's OVAC all-star football game at Wheeling Island Stadium.
-- Mike Mathison
"It feels amazing," Dear said of the honor. "My offensive line did a heck of a job. We came into the game expecting to run and West Virginia couldn't stop us, so we just kept running."
The Ohio line, anchored by Big Red's Michael Camilletti at center, opened huge holes all evening for Dear and Cambridge's Dashaun Lewis, who also topped the 100-yard mark and reached the end zone three times.
"Our goal coming in was to run power and shove it down their throats," Camilletti commented as the final seconds were ticking away. "We did a great job of executing the game plan developed by our coaches."
A three-year mainstay for Big Red and an all-Ohio selection as a senior, Camilletti will attend Kent State University, meaning Sunday's contest brought an end to his gridiron career.
"I left it all on the field tonight," he added. "It's great to go out with a victory."
With the win, the Buckeye State snapped a two-game losing streak to its West Virginia counterparts. Ohio now maintains a 42-24-1 edge in the all-time series. The Mountain State had posted a 24-3 victory last year and a 24-14 win in 2010.
"That was our biggest fear, that they'd sit there and pound those two backs at us,'' West Virginia and Weirton Madonna coach Doug Taylor said. "We've been saying all week they had the size advantage and those two are great backs.
"My hat's off to them. But our kids played tough until the end.''
Going into the contest, Ohio coach Eric Schumacher, who heads up the Conotton Valley program, knew his squad had "a couple of pretty good running backs."
"We had some success running the football early and we decided to stick with it," he said. "I am really pleased with the way our offensive unit performed and have to give credit to our guys up front."
Ohio appeared ready to put the game away early, taking a 13-0 lead following two long scoring drives. West Virginia, however, wasn't going to go away that easy.
Taylor's club got a huge break in the second quarter, recovering a fumbled punt at the Ohio 41. Four plays later, the Mountaineers scored on an Aaron Fonner pass to Erik Gompers. The drive was aided by a personal foul call against the Buckeyes. West Virginia took the lead on the next series when Vondel Bell returned a pass interception 32 yards for a touchdown.
The Mountain State stars took a 14-13 lead into the expanded halftime break.
When play finally resumed, Ohio turned its first three possessions into scores to put the game away.
As impressive as the Buckeye offense was, the Ohio defense wasn't bad either. West Virginia managed just six first downs and went three and out a half dozen times. The winners recorded two quarterback sacks (one by Big Red's William Houst) and three tackles for losses (LeShawn Luke, another Steubenville product, came through in this area).
"Our defense really stepped up and played well," Schumacher said.
West Virginia, according to Luke, "couldn't do anything against our defense.
"We did a great job of shutting them down.
"It feels really good to bring the bragging rights back to Ohio."
Luke is heading off to continue his football career at Division III power Mount Union.
Houst, who is heading to Gavilan Junior College in California, was extremely "happy with the way the Ohio defense performed. I'm really glad we were able to get the win and get the momentum back for Ohio."
Madonna's Taylor noted Ohio's one-two punch of big backs "really hurt us and wore us down. That put pressure on our offense to try to slow things down.
"Their defense played really well also. But, I'll take the effort our team put forth. It was second to none. They gave us all they had for 48 minutes."
Schumacher, who was involved for the first time in the OVAC game and leading a football team, also gave his Ohio players credit for "playing hard on both sides of the ball. We were fortunate to come out on top."
He now turns his attention to getting his Rocket program going (double sessions for high school teams on both sides of the river began today). Schumacher became the new CV coach earlier this year.
"This was a great experience but now I look forward to getting things started at Conotton Valley," he said.
Ohio ran 71 plays to West Virginia's 41.
"We just never got into an offensive rhythm all night and it really hurt us in the second half,'' Taylor said.
Ohio 33, West Virginia 14
Ohio 6 7 20 0 - 33
West Virginia 0 14 0 0 - 14
O: Dear 3 run (kick failed)
O: Lewis 1 run (Padyjasek kick)
WV: Gompers 17 pass from Fonner (Carter kick)
WV: Bell 33 interception return (Carter kick)
O: Lewis 1 run (run failed)
O: Lewis 8 run (Padyjasek kick)
O: Piergallini recovered fumble in end zone (Padyjasek kick)
RUSHING: Ohio, 58-313-4td (Smelley, 7-31; Lewis, 24-118-3td; Dear, 24-149-1td; Kemp, 1-3; Piergallini, 2-12). West Virginia, 21-55 (Peluchette, 3-(-8); Bianconi, 4-13; Fonner, 7-(-4); Faulkner, 3-26; McDowell, 3-16; Keller, 1-12).
PASSING: Ohio, 6-13-44-1x (Smelley, 6-10-44; Kemp, 0-2-1x; Dear, 0-1). West Virginia, 8-20-56-1td-1x (Pelechutte, 4-10-8-1x; Fonner, 4-10-48-1td).
RECEIVING: Ohio, 6-44 (Ayouch, 3-11; Fitzpatrick, 1-5; Thompkins, 1-14; Garan, 1-14). West Virginia, 8-56-1td (Lathon, 1-13; Bianconi 2-25; Minehart, 2-4; Gompers, 1-17-td; Faulkner, 1-(-1); Hissam, 1-8).
FIRST DOWNS: Ohio 20, West Virginia 5.
FUMBLES: Ohio 5-3, West Virginia 0-0.
PENALTIES: Ohio 4-45, West Virginia 2-20.