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On the line: Ohio has speed

July 15, 2009
By SETH STASKEY, special to the Herald-Star

WHEELING - Good linemen boast a combination of size and speed. Dave Caldwell and the Ohio coaching staff think they've found a group that's got just that for the annual Rudy Mumley Ohio Valley Athletic Conference All-Star Charity Football Classic July 26 at Wheeling Island Stadium.

"The guys we picked are big and athletic," Caldwell said. "They've all got some speed, and I think they've got good skills both offensively and defensively, so they can play a variety of spots."

Vying for time during camp, which opens Sunday at West Liberty State University, will be: Ryan Dugan (Steubenville), D.J. Duke (River), Schuler Bondy (Monroe Central), Bo Olexo (Union Local), Steven Woodford (Martins Ferry), Sean West (Bridgeport), Brent Snider (Indian Creek), George Ruckman (Beallsville), Brant Powell (Barnesville) and Patrick Gerst (Caldwell).

"If you notice, our linemen come from top-notch programs, and I am not worried at all about them being able to pick up our schemes and doing the job," Caldwell relayed.

RYAN DUGAN, Steubenville - This offensive tackle opened many holes for the Big Red skill players during his senior season under head coach Reno Saccoccia.

The 6-foot, 250-pounder earned second-team all-Ohio, all-OVAC, all-Eastern District and all-Quad County and he served as team captain. Dugan is a National Scholar and is also the vice president of the Key Club.

The son of James and Margaret Dugan will attend Tiffin University.

BRENT SNIDER, Indian Creek - This former Redskin was a stalwart as a two-way tackle for head coach Andrew Connor.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder was a menace on the defensive side of the ball and was one of the top blockers for the Redskins' offensive front.

He was an honorable mention all-Eastern District selection.

The son of Robert Snider and Sandra McMichael will attend Bethany College.

D.J. DUKE, River - This Pilot left a lasting mark on the program under the direction of Mike Flannery.

The 6-foot, 250-pounder was one of the area's most dominating defensive tackles and made a living in opposition's backfields. For his fine season, Duke was named first-team all-Ohio for the second straight year and was an all-OVAC pick.

Duke also made his mark in track and field where he established the state record in the shot put and won two state championships under the direction of coach Tim Frye.

The son of Don Duke and Kim Dye will attend Ashland University for track and field.

SCHUYLER BONDY, Monroe Central - This two-way tackle was a four-year regular for the Seminoles and head coach Jay Circosta.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder was the starting center as a sophomore and junior and shifted to the tackle spot this past season and was the starting defensive tackle for three seasons. On the defensive side, Bondy recorded 8 sacks.

He was named first-team all-Eastern District, honorable mention all-Ohio and he was first-team all-OVAC. Along with football, Bondy earned all-Ohio accolades in wrestling twice, finishing seventh both as a junior and senior.

Away from athletics, Bondy was active in several academic programs. He was a HOBY Scholar, member of the Art Club and took part in Buckeye Boys State.

The son of Rusty and Susan Bondy will attend Ohio University.

BO OLEXO, Union Local - This former Jet was a two-way standout for Mark Cisar's team.

The 6-foot, 205-pounder was a mainstay on the defensive side of the ball and earned first-team all-OVAC and honorable mention all-Ohio.

Away from athletics, Olexo was a member of the Spanish Club, Student Council and served as a class officer.

The son of Bo Olexo is undecided about his future plans.

STEVEN WOODFORD, Martins Ferry - This Purple Rider was a two-way standout for coach Dave Bruney's Region 15 runner-up squad. As an offensive lineman, Woodford was a guard and paved the way for nearly 4,000 Purple Rider rushing yards. As a linebacker he was one of the team's top tacklers.

He was a first-team all-District and all-OVAC selection. Along with football, he was also a standout wrestler for the Riders.

The son of Oliver and Donna Woodford will attend West Liberty University and play football.

SEAN WEST, Bridgeport - This Bulldog lineman was a two-way ace for coach Rudy Vavrock's squad this past season helping it to the Division VI playoffs.

The 5-foot-10, 240-pounder recorded 75 tackles and six sacks as a senior and was a dandy offensive lineman helping to pave the way for the Bulldogs' ground game. For his fine season, West was a first-team all-district, all-OVAC and special mention all-state selection.

Along with football, West was a standout in wrestling, qualifying for the Division III state tournament.

The son of Rhonda and Michael West will attend Muskingum College.

GEORGE RUCKMAN, Beallsville - This former Blue Devil was a four-year mainstay for Caldwell's squad.

The 6-foot, 260-pounder anchored the offensive line at center and defensive tackle. He finished his prep career with 380 tackles and 45 sacks.

For his efforts he was an all-Eastern District pick, received mentioning on the all-Ohio squad, and was first-team all-OVAC. Along with football, Ruckman lettered in wrestling and baseball.

Away from sports, he was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Yearbook Staff and honor roll.

The son of George and Linda Ruckman will attend Muskingum College.

BRANT POWELL, Barnesville - This former Shamrock was a standout two-way tackle for coach Luke Johnson's squad the past three years.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder was a first-team all-Eastern District and all-OVAC selection. He received the defensive lineman award and was team MVP.

The son of Duane and Lisa Powell plans on attending either Mount Union College or Belmont Technical College.

PATRICK GERST, Caldwell - This former Redskin wore several different hats for head coach Mike DeVol's team. The 6-foot, 240-pounder was a guard, punter, kicker and linebacker during his prep days.

On the defensive side of the ball he recorded 103 tackles and had two fumble recoveries last season. He also held a 36-yard punting average and a 50-yard kickoff average.

For his fine campaign, he was named first-team all-OVAC, all-Eastern District and earned special mention all-Ohio.

Along with football, Gerst is active in scouting where he's earned Eagle Scout distinction. He's also a member of the National Honor Society.

The son of Gerald and Christine Gerst will attend Marietta College.

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