Familiar coaches meet in Jack Arvin game

Jack Arvin teams led by pair of ITCL coaches.

Dan Williams & Michael Demster

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – When the Trumbull and Mahoning County teams face off on Thursday in the annual Jack Arvin All-Star Game, there will be some familiar faces on the sidelines. Not just the players, but both of the head coaches for the two teams have met during the regular season the past two years as head coaches in the ITCL.

Ron DeJulio, director of the Jack Arvin All-Star Game admitted that he didn’t know of two coaches facing each other in the game before, but pointed out that over the course of 33 years he felt it probably happened at some point.

McDonald’s Dan Williams will mentor the Trumbull team, while United’s Michael Demster will guide the Mahoning/Columbiana squad. While the two schools were in different tiers of the ITCL, they met as a cross-over opponents the past two years, with McDonald winning both contests.

Demster was quick to point out that what happened during their respective team’s past will have no effect in the all-star game atmosphere, “He’s (Williams) is a great football coach. He’s been doing this a long time and he has had some great McDonald teams. Now the thing with both of us is that I think we are both working outside of our typical schemes on both sides of the football base upon the talent that we have.”

“So what we have done in the past may not come into play basically because again, we’re not seeing that same offense and defense we’re used to seeing with a Dan Williams team. He’s a wing-t guy, but wing-t offenses don’t sell tickets to an all-star game,” Demster said with a smile.

“We laughed about that the first day,” Williams said with a chuckle. “The first day I sort of said to the kids when we met the first time. I said, ‘We run the wing-t here at McDonald. Anybody know anything about the wing-t?’ Not one kid raised their hand, except for our three,” Williams said with a laugh.

This is the first head coaching assignment for Dempster in an all-star game, but he is not a stranger to the situation. He was the defensive coordinator for the West Virginia squad in the 2015 Ohio Valley Athletic Conference all-star game. He also participated as a player in the Stark County East-West game as a senior graduate from Fairless High School.

For Williams, this is the second time he has had the privilege to be the head coach of the Trumbull team in the game. Williams was named as head coach back in 2010 opposite of Jack Kemp from Ursuline.

“It’s an honor, a real honor, to be a part and affiliated with great athletes from both Mahoning and Columbiana County,” Demster remarked of being named as the head coach of the Mahoning team. “Any time you get an opportunity to coach players at this level it’s fun as a coach.”

“It’s a great honor,” Williams echoed. “You know for them to come to me and ask me to do this. I’m going into my 18th season as head coach here at McDonald and to be able to do this twice now is an honor.”

“I have two guys actually on my staff that played in this game. One played in this game 30 years ago and the other played in this game probably 17, 18 years ago. It’s a pretty neat thing. It’s (Jack Arvin Game) has been around a long, long time. It’s been a great tradition,” Williams added.

“You work at an accelerated pace. You’re able to get a lot in in a very short period of time. You don’t have to preach the little things. When you correct things, it’s one time and it’s done,” Demster remarked on coaching all-star athletes.

“It’s a different type of coaching, there’s no question about it” Williams admitted. “It’s fun to get the best of the best in our county. To see how they mesh, to see how the camaraderie is between players.”

“As a coaching staff, we’re having a blast with it. We’re just trying to make the most of it and make sure the kids enjoy themselves and have a good experience,” Demster concluded.

“We’re enjoying it,” Williams added. “We’re having a great time with the kids. We’re getting a great commitment from our kids. They’re coming to practice, they’re putting in the time, and we’re making it fun for them. They’re enjoying it.”

The Jack Arvin Game is named after a long-time area football and track coach Jack Arvin. The game, along with other events by the Mahoning Valley Coaches Association has awarded over $85,000 in scholarships over the course of the past 23 years.

Kickoff for the game is set for 7:00 pm at Hubbard High School. Jack Arvin’s wife Dorothy and daughter Leigh will be making presentations at the conclusion of the game.


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