Miami Valley Football Coaches All-Star game set for Friday

Stebbins head coach Greg Bonifay talks to his team during the 2019 season. Bonifay will coach the North squad in Friday's Miami Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game. FILE PHOTO
Stebbins head coach Greg Bonifay talks to his team during the 2019 season. Bonifay will coach the North squad in Friday's Miami Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star Game. FILE PHOTO

VANDALIA – Then a linebacker for Miamisburg High School back in 1994, Greg Bonifay fondly recalls his team winning the Miami Valley Football Coaches Association All-Star game. More than that, he remembers the friendships.

“I still have my jersey hanging in my office at the house. I’m still really good friends with people I played with from different schools,” said Bonifay, the head coach at Stebbins who leads the North team into Friday’s MVFCA All-Star game. “Sometimes it prepares them for college as far as meeting new people and having to battle. I’m a big believer football is more about gaining life-long friendships than anything else. This gives them another opportunity to do that.”

The game starts at 7 p.m. at Vandalia Butler High School. Tickets for the public will be sold at the gate. Players participating were nominated and chosen by MVFCA members.

Last season’s game was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Friday’s game will be the first area high school football game allowing full spectators since the 2020 fall season.

The South team is led by West Carrollton coach Dion Black. He played in the all-star game in 1997 representing Patterson High School and also served as head coach in 2016.

“Just the camaraderie,” Black said of his favorite part of the all-star process, which includes six practices leading up to the game. “These kids like to have fun. They joke around and scream there’s a cicada on you and watch the kids run. It’s good to see how kids learn in different settings other than their own.”

Both teams will run a 4-3 Cover 0 (Zero) defense with no slanting, stunting or blitzing. Most of the work done at practice is getting players familiar with one another and installing the offense. And making sure there’s a good rotation so all the players see as much quality playing time as possible.

“Really enjoying it, especially with being able to have fans. The kids are excited and they’re having fun out there,” Black said. “I’m looking for an exciting game. With having to play man-to-man it’s geared more toward the offense. We’ve been having good practices so we’ll see.”

West Carrollton High School football head coach Dion Black instructs the Pirates during practice on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Black will coach the South squad in Friday's MVFCA All-Star Game. FILE PHOTO
West Carrollton High School football head coach Dion Black instructs the Pirates during practice on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Black will coach the South squad in Friday's MVFCA All-Star Game. FILE PHOTO

Bonifay said his North team did not have a practice where every player participated because of baseball and track seasons and vacations.

“In my mind they’re picked for a reason. They understand the game of football,” Bonifay said. “The key is to let them have fun with it. We try to make it as enjoyable as possible with them. They’ve done a good job. … I’m excited to see fans in the stands again.”

At halftime the MVFCA will honor the organization’s newest hall of fame members. This year’s head coach inductees are Bob Brigati of West Carrollton, Ray Otto of Miamisburg and Ed Mignery of Hamilton, Xenia and Shawnee. Assistant coach inductees are Doug Howard of Clinton-Massie, Pat Roncagli of Centerville and Fairmont and the late Bill “Skeeter” Moss of Urbana.

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