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Connor leads Team Ohio

WHEELING, W.Va. — The Ohio Valley’s kick off to football season — the Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Football Game — is less than six weeks away.

The 74th annual affair is slated for Saturday, July 27, at Wheeling Island Stadium.

A pair of first-time coaches are set to lead Team Ohio and West Virginia. Indian Creek’s Andrew Connor and Parkersburg South’s Mike Eddy were chosen after their teams’ strong seasons in 2018.

Both coaches are experiencing the game from the perspective of head coach for the first time. Actually, neither coach has been involved in any more than just a spectator.

“This is such an honor for me,” Connor said. “Coaching in this game is one of those bucket-list coaching items for the guys in this valley. To know the tradition and history of this game makes it a really big deal to me. My son (Zach) and my brother (David) played in the game. I’ve been attending since I don’t know when pretty much sitting in the same seat every year at Wheeling Island Stadium. It will be nice to have a different place to watch the game from.”

Connor guided the Redskins to an 8-2 record, the OVAC Class 5A title and a berth in the Division IV, Region 13 tournament. His Redskins earned the sixth seed, but fell at Hubbard in week one of the postseason.

In the OVAC’s new system of choosing the coaches, which it adopted for the 2018 game, there was no guarantee that Connor would garner the invitation even though it was the big school (Class 4A and 5A) turn. That stems from St. Clairsville, which won the 4A title, owning a head-to-head win over the Redskins.

“I’ve coached in the Penn-Ohio twice, but it seemed like whenever we’d have a good year or win the OVAC, it never fell on our turn to coach in the all-star game,” Connor said. “When they called this year and offered me the chance, I jumped at it.”

The only hold up for Connor in accepting didn’t take long to get past. He wanted to make sure his coaching staff was on board to go with him.

“All of my coaches are just as excited as I am,” Connor said. “A couple of them actually played in the game, so they’re excited to be back involved with it, too.”

Eddy is in a slightly different position. Since the season ended, Eddy has resigned from Parkersburg South and accepted the head coaching position at Logan — a Division II school in Ohio.

Eddy had committed to the all-star game before accepting his new position. He received a blessing from his new employer to coach the game.

“I had committed to the game and realized there wouldn’t be a conflict,” Eddy said. “I look at it as a great way to go out from our time at South.”

The Patriots finished last season 7-4 and qualified once again to the West Virginia playoffs before falling to Hedgesville in the opening round.

Along with this being Eddy’s last opportunity to represent South one more time, it’s also the final time many of his assistant coaches will do so as well.

“There has been a tremendous amount of turnover at South,” Eddy said. “One of my assistants accepted the job at Warren and several (coaches) went with him, but a couple are staying at South, too. It’s going to be a last hurrah, for all of us together, so to speak.”

This marks the first time Eddy has been involved with the game. He’s been to it before as a spectator since South has had players in it since its entry into the OVAC.

“Being chosen to coach in this game is an honor not only for the person, but for the entire school and community,” Eddy said. “We had a tremendous season (at South) last year and it led to this opportunity, so much of the credit goes to the kids.”