MARTINS FERRY -- The OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game is headed to Martins Ferry.
OVAC Executive Secretary Tom Rataiczak announced Monday the annual grid extravaganza -- pitting Ohio and West Virginia standouts -- will be played at the Dave Bruney Football Complex in Martins Ferry on Saturday night, July 22.
The game is held annually at Wheeling Island Stadium, however, the facility was found to have extensive structural damage last month and repair work will cost $700,000 and is targeted to extend into September.
Martins Ferry was one of four venues in the hunt for this year's game. OVAC officials also considered Steubenville's Harding Stadium, St. Clairsville and Brooke.
"After carefully evaluating the four sites and considering cost, travel, facilities, needs for band and queens, parking, etc., it was felt that Martins Ferry was the most logical choice. While the stadium holds less people than the Island, it should provide for a packed, exciting football game atmosphere," Rataiczak said.
"We can't say enough about Ohio County and the facility it has provided for years. This has made us realize how blessed we have been to have such a venue in the heart of the conference.
"Everyone involved should be grateful that this occurred when it did and that no one was hurt. We have every intention of returning there next year."
This summer's game will help christen new turf currently being installed at the Dave Bruney Complex. In addition, other cosmetic work is under way such as painting and seating repairs.
"We are ecstatic in being selected to host this game. It is the perfect way to showcase our tremendous facility," Martins Ferry Athletic Director Kim Appolloni said. "We have a great football tradition here at Martins Ferry and we are both excited and humbled to be chosen to host such a grand event.
"I would like to thank Rat (Tom Rataiczak) and all those who decided to give us such a wonderful opportunity," she continued. "We have a dedicated staff here at Martins Ferry that will work diligently and passionately to make sure everything is up to all-star standards."
This will not be the first time Ferry has hosted the game. It did so once in the early 1970s.
"Dave Bruney and Kim Appolloni have been super supportive in trying to meet the needs the game requires. In having the Band Showcase there for several years, we feel very comfortable in running this event in a first-class fashion," Rataiczak said. "We realize that a lot of tweaking will need to be done both with Martins Ferry and the OVAC committee, but we are committed to seeing that the game is carried out with the same class as it always has been. The next few months will be very interesting and demanding in getting all the pieces of the game to fit together."