Ohio stars brave sizzling conditions | News, Sports, Jobs

Columbiana’s Kiam Hartley (left) and Bryce Ebben will split their days this week between construction jobs and the Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic All-Star Game. (Photos by Matt Morrison)

GREENFORD– The Ohio All-Stars are in for a brutal week of preparation for the Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic as a lengthy heatwave not seen in decades has settled in over the area.

Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s every day this week and that will make things challenging for those who are trying to make Thursday’s game at Reeves Stadium at Geneva College happen.

As of Monday there are no plans to move the game time to a later start even though temperatures could be in the mid 90s at kick-off.

“We haven’t heard anything about (changing the game time), but kickoff is supposed to be at 7 p.m., so I’m hoping temperatures will cool down,” South Range and Ohio All-Stars coach David Rach said. “Our kids will prepare for that and hopefully everything can go smoothly.”

Rach and his staff said will work to make sure the practices aren’t too difficult.

“We want to keep our guys fresh,” Rach said. “That’s the most important thing, especially for guys who haven’t been working out and what not. We just want to make sure it is a good experience and our practices are a little lighter. We will only be going an hour and 15 minutes or so and we will make sure everyone is getting hydrated.”

Some players will have already dealt with plenty of heat due to their day jobs which include construction and landscaping.

Columbiana running back Kian Hartley, who works for Lindy Paving, and Columbiana left tackle Bryce Ebbens, who works for Marruci and Gaffney Excavating, said they will try to do their best at practice and at their jobs.

“You have to approach it with the same attitude for both of them,” Ebben said. “You just have to push through and stay hydrated, but practice is a lot of fun, so it will distract you from the heat and you have to think about your last game.”

“At 7 a.m you are on the job site working,” Hartley said. “I love my co-workers. They are a bunch of great dudes and this is also fun. It is kind of a reward, that’s how I look at it. I go all day and work my butt off then I get to come play football with the guys.”

Rach adapted to the conditions by setting the practice time to 6 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. He hopes it will be a little cooler that way.

“Yeah it is better as far as the heat,” Ebben said. “I might get to bed a little later, but it is definitely an advantage.”

Rach makes sure his players are drinking plenty of water to prepare for the extreme heat.

“Just telling our guys to make sure that you are preparing your body like hydrating and doing the little things,” Rach said. “It is going to be a challenge, but I think our kids are going to be up for it.”

“I drink like 20 bottles of water and then a Pedialyte right before practice,” Hartley said. “(Pedialyte) is a great flavor and I just kind of chug it before practice.”

“I drink a at least a gallon and a half a day (water),” Ebben said. “Then Body Armor on top of that.”

While Hartley and Ebben work construction, United quarterback Luke Courtney runs his own landscaping business, LC Landscaping, which is another physically demanding job — especially during a heat advisory.

“It has been pretty hard because the grass hasn’t been growing too much,” Courtney said. “It is just too hot to do some of the stuff. When I’m done working I just go to my aunt and uncles house and get in the pool before I come here (practice).”

Recent United graduate and current Youngstown State football player Dallas McCracken gets the opportunity to have a full day of football — which is split up between his YSU practices and practice for the Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic.

“I’m just living the dream,” McCracken said. “It has been hot. I’m just staying hydrated and stuff, but other than that it’s good.”

Depending on certain situations, coach Rach will make sure that his players will be ready to go come game time on Thursday.

“I think our plan is to be out on the field as much as possible because we are limited with the time that we have,” Rach said. “Weather depending, obviously we want to keep our kids safe. If we get some thunderstorms or something we can watch some film or go over some board work.”

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