PENN-OHIO FOOTBALL CLASSIC Ohio stars hoping to end loss streak
They trail 19-6 in the series and have lost four straight.
By MARK W. MILLER
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
BEAVER FALLS, Pa. -- When the Ohio All-Stars go against the Pennsylvania Stars at Geneva College's Reeves Stadium Friday at 7:30 p.m., Leetonia High coach Art Altomare will have had two weeks to prepare the Buckeyes for the 27th Penn-Ohio Football Classic.
The Buckeyes, who trail 19-6 in the series, will try to snap a four-game losing streak. The last time Ohio won was 25-18 in a game played at Wellsville in 2000.
No stranger to the contest, Altomare was co-coach for the first game in 1980, won by the Penn Stars 21-7.
He then coached the Buckeyes to a 21-14 victory over the Penn Stars in 1981.
Four Bears on roster
Last season Altomare and his Leetonia football team was a Division VI playoff qualifier and four of those players will be represented on the Ohio roster, which has 36 players from 21 schools.
"Its a lot of fun to have exceptional talent to work with from our quad county," said Altomare.
The Ohioans have a slight size advantage on the offensive and defensive lines.
In many of the past Penn-Ohio Classics, the Ohio teams have had difficulty in establishing any kind of a running game.
Altomare plans to operate out of a Wing-T formation.
"At practice, we've been telling our lineman they will be the most important part of our game plan," said Altomare.
Alternating at left tackle for offensive coordinator Rich Wright, coach of Beaver Local, will be Joe Buday (6-foot-2, 265 pounds) of Columbiana and Rob Hazelett (6-2, 270) of East Liverpool.
The guards are Beaver Local's Dathan Ferrainolo (6-3, 289), who is head for Ohio University; Lisbon's Dom DeFilippo (6-4, 280), a state qualifier in track, and Springfield's Luke Summers (6-2, 250).
Alternating at right tackle will be Leetonia's Ryan Holliday (6-2, 270) and Steubenville's Quentin Nelson (6-0, 260). Leetonia's Donald Boyd (5-11, 225) is set at center.
The backfield has Youngstown State track prospect Aaron Merrill (6-1, 235) at fullback. He was a state qualifier in the shot put and set 16 Leetonia school records during his football career, rushing for 1,546 yards on 217 carries and 24 touchdowns last season. He also totaled 119 tackles at linebacker and averaged 40.8 yards per punt.
West Branch's Bobby Swallow will share duty at quarterback with Steubenville Central Catholic's Tyler Reynard.
Swallow (6-2, 200) was injured early in the season, but managed to play six games. He completed 47-of-101 passes for 785 yards and six TDs.
Beaver Local's Dan Kinsey (6-3, 190) was a state qualifier in four events during his track career. He rushed for over 1,000 yards for the Beavers last season.
Wellsville's Jason Carter (5-11, 145) is another running back with exceptional speed. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards.
Crestview running back Dave Myers led the Rebels with 1,441 yards on 230 carries and scored 16 TDs. He also caught nine passes for 92. He'll continue his football career at Thiel College.
One of the defensive standouts will be nose guard Kyle Kennedy of West Branch. He had 71 tackles and five sacks for the Warriors in 2004.