Colabella to Fletcher

BETHANY – As the former head coach at Bellaire High School, Jose Davis lost graduating senior Spencer Badia, who threw for more than 8,000 yards.

As the head coach of the Rudy Mumley OVAC Charity Football Classic, Davis gains Brenton Colabella, who threw for more than 7,000 yards at Steubenville Central.

“There’s not very many times you can lose an 8,000-yard guy and have a 7,000-yard guy come in,” Davis said at Monday’s media day. “That doesn’t happen very often. I’m excited to have Brenton. Working with him the last two days has been great. I didn’t realize how smart of a kid he was.”

Davis said he and his staff already implemented the whole playbook they plan on using for the Ohio side in Sunday’s game against the West Virginia All-Stars at Wheeling Island Stadium.

“We threw the whole thing at him and he got it,” Davis said. “They all got it. This is Monday and we can get a lot of work in. But it all starts with Brenton.”

Colabella closed out his senior year for the Crusaders with a 9-3 record and a berth in the Division VII regional semifinals.

He finished his career with 7,780 yards, 83 touchdowns and rewrote the Crusaders’ passing records. He is the only four-year starter at quarterback for Central and is one of three Ohio Valley signal-callers to pass for more than 7,000 yards in his career.

Badia, bound for Marietta, is another. He has already reported to camp for the Pioneers, while Colabella won’t report to West Liberty football camp until Aug. 11.

“I can’t wait for it,” Colabella said. “I’ve been throwing down there about three times a week this summer just to prepare for the next level and this upcoming game.

“Now that the all-star game is this week, I know that college won’t be too far off.”

Bunking up for the entire week at Bethany College to prepare for the game at Wheeling Island Stadium also serves as a tuneup for what Colabella, and other college-bound prospects, will experience in a few weeks.

“It’s a test run,” Colabella said. “(Former Central player) Zach (Herrington) told me it’s a lot like those first weeks in college and I’m seeing that it really is.

“Your coach sets a schedule and gives you a time to go to lunch. There’s a great group of players and they’re great guys, too. We’re bonding already and we’re working hard to win that game on Sunday.”

By his side will be former Crusader teammate, Ryan Fletcher.

Fletcher caught 26 passes for 540 yards in his senior season. He scored 17 touchdowns and also ran the ball 40 times for 355 yards.

He will attend Washington & Jefferson in the fall and intends on reporting to Presidents camp on Aug. 16.

“That date has been circled all summer,” he said. “I can’t wait for it to come, but I’ve been really anticipating this game, too.”

Fletcher, with teammate Khalil Jones, took part in the Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic on June 27. The Pennsylvania side took a 24-7 decision at Springfield Local High School.

“That was a good experience,” Fletcher said. “It was good to get back into football mode a little bit. It was unfortunate that we lost, but it still was fun that I got to play in it.”

He’s looking forward to playing alongside Colabella one last time.

“I’ll be playing out wide, just like I did for Central,” Fletcher said. “Me and Brenton have always had good connections and I think we’ll make a few more in this game.”

It may not hit the pair until they step on the field, but Colabella had a sense that his high school years are completely behind him when he packed his bags for Bethany over the weekend.

“As I was packing my helmet I realized this was the last time I’m going to put on a ‘C’ for Central,” he said. “I’m going to do my best to represent the school well for the last time.”