Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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June 17, 2014

Ironton church hosting Scarlet and Gray Day

IRONTON — Are you ready for some Buckeyes?

Scarlet and Gray Day is coming to Ironton this weekend. Several former Ohio State football players, including four members of the 2002 national championship team, will be part of a charity basketball game on Saturday and will then be speaking Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church in Ironton.

Ironton’s own Tyler Whaley, who played for the Buckeyes from 2003 to 2007, is spearheading the effort that will benefit three entities — Ironton city schools, the First Baptist Church youth fund’s after-school program and Amy For Africa, an organization based in Ashland that raises money for missions in Moyo, Uganda.

Whaley, a deacon at the church, was trying to come up with a creative way to invite people to church. He is using the model of Roy Hall, a wide receiver for the Buckeyes when Whaley played, who is president of a foundation called Driven.

“He helped me and guided me on how to do everything, including some sponsorships,” Whaley said. “We want people to come in a real nice environment, take all the perceptions down and have a good time.”

Whaley, an All-Ohio player at Ironton High School, walked on at Ohio State his first year but ended up getting a scholarship as a junior. In played in two national championship games, swept “that team up North four times” and was on three Big Ten championship teams.

The Buckeye players who are coming include Hall, Whaley, Maurice Lee, Tyler Everett, Trevor Robinson and Thomas Matthews. They will form a basketball team that will take on some local talent. The roster hasn’t been finalized but he  hopes to have former Ironton stars Dennis Gagai and Zach Carter. Chris Compston, whose wife Amy is the founder of Amy For Africa, is also on the opponent’s roster along with Dr. Ondrej Choutka, a neurosurgeon at King’s Daughters Medical Center who has college basketball experience.

Corporate sponsors who are at a certain level can have a participate in the charity game that will be played at Ironton High School’s Conley Center on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

At halftime, FBC pastor Eric Barnes will talk about the youth fund and Amy Compston will talk about the needs with Amy For Africa.

“Amy came and spoke at our church and we were so impressed with what that organization is doing that we wanted to help them,” Whaley said.

After the game the Buckeyes will be signing autographs for free. General admission tickets to the game are $5, with all proceeds benefiting the charities.

On Sunday morning, Roy Hall and Amy Compston will be the speakers in the service that begins at 9:45 a.m. The church is located at 304 S. 5th Street in Ironton.

Whaley is still looking for more sponsors. VIP levels are $200, $500 (one player in game) and $750 (two players in game). Anyone interested can call Whaley at (606) 831-2929.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.

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