Sunday, February 2, 2020

          The latest selections to the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 have been announced.
           Wheeling Central's JoJo Blaha and Weir's Carl Fodor have now had their names called to the shrine, and will represent the decade of the 1980s during the Conference’s annual hall of fame induction ceremony, which is slated for Saturday, Aug. 15.
           The entire OVAC Hall of Fame class, which is sponsored by Robinson Auto Group and housed at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, will be announced by the committee every two weeks.  The next release will contain the honorees from the 1970s, and it  will be announced on Feb. 16.
         Previously announced Hall of Fame honorees are Monroe Central grad Leekycia Brown and St. John Central product Natalie (Perzanowski) Bigelow, representing the decade of the 2000s while Wheeling Park graduate Daryl “Boogie” Johnson and Magnolia alumnus Josh Watson have been tabbed to represent the decade of the 1990s.
          Here’s a capsule look at the honorees from the decade of the 1980s:
            JOJO BLAHA, Wheeling Central (Class of 1983) In a school where athletic tradition runs deep, Blaha rates with the Maroon Knights'  all-time greats.   Blaha was a first-team all-state honoree in three sports - football, basketball and baseball.
           While starring in all three sports, Blaha's prep baseball  exploits were staggering.
He was a two-time all-stater (1981 & 1983).  He batted better than .400 as a junior and senior, earning all-OVAC and all-Valley first-team plaudits.  He also helped lead Wheeling American Legion Post 1 to a pair of state championships, highlighted by being selected in 1983 as the West Virginia State Player of the Year.
         In football, Blaha was a stud running back and led the team in rushing as a junior and senior, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark as a senior.  His ball-toting efforts landed him all-OVAC, all-State, and all-Valley plaudits.
          The versatile and multi-talented Blaha was a four-year performer for legendary coach Skip Prosser.  The Knights captured the 1982 state crown, their first as a member of the WVSSAC.   Central advanced to the state tournament again the following year.   The savvy guard was voted to the state all-tournament team in both 1982 and 1983.  Blaha was a double-digit scorer in his final two years in hoops.    He 
was an all-OVAC, all-Valley and all-State honoree both of those seasons.
           Blaha opted to continue his baseball and academic careers at Valdosta State in Georgia, where he scripted another brilliant diamond resume, lettering all four years.  Blaha was a two-time All-American and two-time all-conference honoree  during his collegiate playing days.   The standout third baseman established eight school records.
           He was a .339 career hitter with 43 home runs, 52 RBI, 178 runs scored  and 209 RBI. Blaha helped lead Valdosta to 157 wins in his  career.

           CARL FODOR, Weir (Class of 1982) - Fodor was a prolific three-year starter at quarterback for the Red Riders.  He set the school career passing record of 2,090 yards (it lasted until 2005) despite playing on three losing record teams and missing several games with injuries.
            As a senior, he was sidelined from Weir's first three games with a collarbone injury. In seven games.  He passed for 1,213 yards,  completing 74 of 165 passes with 8 TDs for a 1-9 record team . In  their win over Mount View (27-12), he passed for 269 yards, then second-best in school history. Fodor earned second-team Class AAA all-state honors as well as all-Valley and all-Mountaineer League plaudits.  He was selected to play in the W. Va. North-South All-Star game in Charleston and quarterbacked the North (coached by Dave Cisar) to an upset victory.
           Fodor also excelled on the diamond for the Red Riders.  He was a three-year regular center-fielder who helped Weir earn a state largest Class AAA state tournament berth with section and regional titles including a 1-0 upset Region 1 semi-final win over John Marshall and OVAC Hall of Fame pitcher Chris Jones. He earned honorable mention largest Class AAA all-State plus all-Valley (all-class) second team.
           Fodor went onto a record-setting career as Marshall University's  quarterback.  He ended his Thundering Herd career holding virtually every passing record in school annals.   The talented quarterback completed 416-of-811 passes for 35 TDs.  He established a Southern Conference record with his 6,627 passing yards.
           Fodor's passing exploits at Marshall earned him the West Virginia Amateur Athlete of the Year Award (now Hardman Award).   He is one of only seven OV prep products who have won the state's oldest award  originated in 1933. The other six are already honored by OVAC: Chuck Howley, Lee Patrone, Zach Amedro, John (Fuzzy) Filliez, Harold (Doc) Daugherty and Kenny Griffith.
           Fodor signed a free agent NFL contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and was on the practice squad in 1986 before signing CFL contract with the Calgary Stampeders where he played two seasons.  He then played a season with Chicago in the Arena League before ending his career with one season in Wheeling with Steel Valley Smash.
            Fodor, who was inducted into the W.Va. Coaches Association Hall of Fame plus halls of fame at Marshall and Weir, still resides in  Weirton.
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