OVAC HALL OF FAME SELECTS LEE, VROTSOS

Monday, February 19, 2018

           Bellaire and Martins Ferry are ancient prep rivals with stellar athletic traditions.
          That rich talent pool is reflected once again when the OVAC Hall of Fame Committee announced its selections for the decade of the 1970s. The Big Reds' Ron Lee and the Purple Riders' Keith Vrotsos are the honorees for the Class of 2018 OVAC Hall of Fame induction.
           The OVAC Hall of Fame, which is sponsored by Robinson Automotive Group, will hold its induction ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 18 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, which is where the hall of fame is housed.
           This is the fourth consecutive year that the hall of fame committee is releasing the honorees every two weeks until April rather than waiting until later in the spring. The athletes representing the decade of the 1960s will be published on March 4.
           Previously announced were Steubenville graduate Zach Collaros and Beaver Local alumnus Adam Hoppel, who will represent the decade of the 2000s. Wheeling Central’s Eric McGhee and Edison’s Kelly Shields are the honorees from the 1990s while Bellaire's Georgia Dawson and Linsly's Ron Stephens are the inductees from the 1980s.
            Here is an in-depth look at the 1970s inductees:
            Ron Lee (Bellaire, Class of 1971) --  Lee is on the short list of outstanding running backs who have graced Nelson Field.
          The 6-3, 195-pounder carried the Big Reds of Jake Olsavsky to an 8-1-1 mark in his senior campaign. Bellaire finished second in the OVAC 3A title chase, trailing Wintersville. The two teams tied 0-0 in regular-season play. The Big Reds finished No. 19 in the UPI Class 3A poll, the largest classification in the state.
          Lee rushed for 989 yards and 16 TDs that fall. His 108 points led the OVAC 3A in scoring. He also landed 10 passes. Those numbers earned Lee first-team All-Valley and All-OVAC plaudits while being named second-team All-Ohio by UPI. He also played in the Ohio North-South Game.
          Lee was also a three-year letterman in basketball. He was voted the Big Reds' top athlete as a senior.
          Lee's prep heroics earned him a grid scholarship to WVU. He chose the Mountaineers over a slew of D-I offers.
          Freshmen were not eligible to play in those days. Lee, however, enjoyed  a strong campaign with the Mountaineers frosh squad, leading the outfit with 372 yards on 97 carries in five games.
          As a sophomore, Lee moved into the No. 2 fullback slot, rushing for 304 yards and three TDs on 76 carries. His toughness was matched by his versatility, resulting in him being utilized as fullback and tailback his final two seasons.
          Lee was the team's second leading rusher both of those campaigns, gaining 543 yards as a junior and 623 stripes as a senior, while also leading the team with 10 TDs.
          A member of two WVU Peach Bowl teams, he was selected as No. 74 on the list of top 100 all-time WVU football players in the WVU Athletic Department Book, "Saturday Snapshots," published in 2015.
          His success at Morgantown resulted in Lee being chosen in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. He played in 42 games, starting eight. He ended his Colts' career with 940 yards on 206 carries.
           Keith Vrotsos (Martins Ferry, Class of 1989) -- Vrotsos personified versatility at an elite level.
   He starred for the Purple Riders in football, basketball and baseball, the diamond sport proving his pathway to a superb collegiate career.
          The four-year regular with the Purple Rider baseball team batted better than .330 his first two seasons before exploding in his junior campaign. Vrotsos earned first-team All-OVAC, All-Eastern District and All-Valley honors that campaign after hitting at a robust .458 clip.
         He concluded his prep career by turning in a superb senior season. He compiled a .386 average with 21 RBI. He was again accorded first team All-OVAC, All-Eastern District and All-Valley honors.
 The 5-11, 170-pounder was a four-time Eastern Ohio Baseball All-Star Game participant.
           Vrotsos was also a standout on the Purple Riders' gridiron.
         He excelled as a placekicker as a sophomore, kicking 19 PATS and one field goal before becoming the Purple's starting QB his final two seasons.
          Vrotsos completed 49-of-100 tosses as a junior, good for 531 yards. He also rushed for 250 stripes.
          As a senior, he earned second-team All-Ohio UPI honors after completing 56-of-111 passes for 581 yards while also rushing for 423 stripes. He also picked off three passes as a defensive back. In addition to his all-state honors, Vrotsos was named first-team All-OVAC, All-Eastern District and All-Valley. He also played in the OVAC All-Star Game.
          Vrotsos was also a three-year letterman in hoops. The talented point guard averaged some 7 points as a sophomore, 10.1 as a junior and 9.2 as a senior. He was named second-team All-OVAC as a senior. He helped lead the Purple Riders to sectional titles his final two campaigns and capped his hoop career by playing in the OVAC All-Star Game.
          Vrotsos earned a baseball scholarship to Ohio University. In Athens, the Ferrian scripted a banner career, lettering all four campaigns.
          He was named co-captain in both his junior and senior seasons. His final season with the Bobcats was outstanding as he batted .341 with 12 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs with 32 RBI and 12 stolen bases. He led the Green & White in hits, runs, games played, doubles and stolen bases. Vrotsos was a second-team All-Mid-American Conference selection as a senior.
          He finished his Bobcat career with a sharp .311 batting average. When he graduated, Vrotsos ranked in the top 10 in the following Ohio University baseball categories: games played (157), hits (141), home runs (15), RBI (79), doubles (20), total bases (201), runs scores (105) and stolen bases (30).

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