Springer, Pyciak had goals to play in OVAC game

BETHANY – Without looking too far ahead in their high school careers, Edison’s Rich Springer and Buckeye Local’s Devan Pyciak each had goals of playing the the OVAC All-Star Game.

“My brother played in it five years ago when Buckeye Local was one of the top teams in the area,” Pyciak said. “I always wanted to follow in his footsteps.”

Said Springer, “I’ve been coming to see the game my entire life and ever since I suited up for Edison my freshman year I knew I wanted to play in it.”

Their wishes will be fulfilled on Sunday at Wheeling Island Stadium.

As the lone representatives from their respective schools, Pyciak and Springer have been faced with the task of meeting new people and forming fresh friendships on their own.

It’s been a fun challenge for them.

“I’ve been talking with a lot of the fellow Buckeye 8 (Conference) kids a lot,” said Pyciak, who is actually rooming with Harrison Central’s Nate Olmstead and Indian Creek’s Blake Roar for the week at Bethany College. “It’s nice to be with people who share the same mentality and who grew up near me. We butted heads on the field, but the Buckeye 8 is strong together.”

“We were rivals before, but now we’re teammates,” added Springer. “All the guys here are really supportive and I’ve made a lot of new friends that will last even when we’re done preparing for the game.”

Springer was a First-Team, All-District selection for his performance at wide receiver in 2013. He caught 30 passes for 564 yards and five touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 4-6 season under first-year head coach Derick Stickles.

“He always wanted the ball,” Stickles said when the district team was announced. “When opportunities came his way he did some really great things and made some really great plays.

“The kid has phenomenal hands. He can catch anything.”

Springer was also an all-Quad County and All-Ohio honorable mention.

Pyciak was Buckeye Local’s running back, but made a name for himself on defense. He made 21 tackles and assisted on six, with a sack. He also finished with 209 rushing yards.

“My expectations are to work hard, learn a lot, get the plays down and win,” Pyciak said. “We’re still having fun at practices, but I’m definitely ready for Sunday night. I’m ready to beat some heads in.”

Pyciak will attend the University of Akron, while Springer is heading to Hiram College.