Festivities for the 34th annual Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic started Saturday morning at the Washingtonville VFW with a kick-off breakfast for all participants and their families. The players and their families were treated to a breakfast, an introduction of all the players participating, and a presentation by the hosting Quad County Coaches Association. The families were given instructions on what to expect by the Association while Ohio head coach Mike Skrinjar gave the players a pep talk about the importance of the All-Star game.
“Take it very seriously,” Coach Skrinjar told the squad during their meeting.
Skrinjar, who is the head coach at Southern Local, is coaching the All-Star game for the first time, but he has watched the game closely the past few years, including a 19-7 Ohio win in last year’s contest at Springfield Local.
“Each one of you guys are, in my mind, elite, the fact that you were nominated and on the team. Playing time, there may not be equal playing time, but if I have 36 guys who have all bought into working hard, I’m going to do my best at playing time,” Skrinjar said. “This one of the best All-Star games around. Coach Baughman puts together one of the best games around here,” he added.
Larry Baughman, an assistant coach with the Columbiana Clippers football program, has been the Ohio Game Coordinator for the past 16 years. He works with his counterpart from Pennsylvania to coordinate all activities for the game and to establish the scholarship program that the proceeds provide.
“This year we are only giving out four scholarships,” Baughman said. “It’s tougher now with sponsors. We used to give more scholarships away. We don’t give out as many [now], but we get to feed the kids every night [after practice], and they get a game jersey, a bag and a watch.”
Baughman also pointed out that with 22 schools in the Quad County Association, it is hard to narrow down to the 36 player limit for the game.
“If everybody is eligible, a player, then you can see we only have 13 or so extra that we can have. So there are some good all-stars that don’t make this team that deserve to be on it.”
The game itself will be played at Geneva College on Friday, June 28, with kick-off set at 7:30 p.m. The Pennsylvania squad is much like Ohio in that it is from the Mid-West Coaches Association in Pennsylvania and it also includes 22 schools; however, the Pennsylvania association draws from bigger school districts than the Ohio association. That disparity has led to the Keystoners holding a 23-9 advantage in the series.
Baughman also added the benefits for the players to get the opportunity to play at Geneva College and their new facility. “Geneva is really nice now. They have all turf. The stadium is outstanding.
Tickets for the game will be $7 in advance and $8 at the gate. Advance tickets can be purchased at Sitler the Printer in Columbiana, AT&T Store in Columbiana and the Sports Connection in Salem. The game is sponsored by Giant Eagle and Bellissimo & Pierce Attorneys At Law.
Lowell Spencer, ITCLFootball.com