Explosive offense set tone for Ohio

WHEELING – Receivers on the Ohio OVAC All-Star team had heard about Brenton Colabella.

They knew the former Steubenville Central quarterback was a pro-style thrower. They knew the Eastern District Player of the Year could put up blistering numbers. And they knew the West Liberty-bound player was a winner.

To play on the same side as Colabella, though, was an experience to remember.

“As soon as he steps on the field, you know he’s a leader,” said Indian Creek graduate and fellow Ohio All-Star Blake Roar. “He’ll never let you down.”

Ryan Fletcher, a Crusader teammate for four years, was on the receiving end of many Colabella passes throughout high school. He caught six catches to lead the Buckeyes with 76 yards in the 27-26 win in the 69th-annual Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Football Game on Sunday.

“We’ve got to do that a lot over the years,” Fletcher said. “We were able to hook up six times and it was special because it was the last time we’ll play on the same team together.”

Colabella will be a Hilltopper, while Fletcher is heading to play at Washington & Jefferson.

Roar, who will play at Waynesburg, caught one pass for nine yards and added 13 yards on five carries. Ten players recorded an offensive statistic for the Buckeyes.

“We had so many targets,” Roar said. “You got the hitch on the outside, you got the go-route. We could do a lot out there. We had some pretty athletic receivers which gave Colabella a lot of options.”

Ohio opened the scoring on its first possession at Wheeling Island Stadium. A seven-play drive – which lasted only two minutes, 22 seconds – was capped by a 37-yard toss by Colabella to Edison graduate Rich Springer to give the Buckeyes an early lead.

“It was exciting and set the tone for the rest of the game,” said Springer, who will play at Hiram College. “We’re some very versatile receivers, but Colabella made it easy for us. He’s an awesome quarterback. He throws a perfect ball.”

Colabella finished 17 of 27 passing for 245 and three touchdowns. He hit Brendon Ross and Kenny Hess – both of Bellaire – for touchdown passes of 22 and six yards, respectively, in the second half.

Clay Lapp of Meadowbrook had one catch for 10 yards, Nate Olmstead of Harrison Central had one catch for 38 yards and Chez Glen of Toronto had one catch for three yards.

“It was nice to get a great group of receivers together,” Colabella said. “There was not one person you didn’t want to throw to – they were all great.”

West Virginia’s LaVonte Hampton, a Bishop Donahue graduate who will play at Bethany College, led all receivers with six catches for 90 yards. Zach Phillips, a Gannon recruit and the Mountaineers’ quarterback, threw for 178 yards on 18 of 31 passing.