BETHANY, W.Va. - Bethany College is continuing its history of supporting the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) by joining McDonald's, Aeropostale, Yamaha Corporation and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as corporate sponsor of the inaugural Tri-State Kickoff.

"On behalf of the organizers of the inaugural Tri-State Kickoff event, we are excited to have Bethany College, a high caliber four-year institution in the heart of the tri-state region, on our team. This partnership should prove to be one that is long term and mutually beneficial," said James Companion Jr., of Scholastic Sports Marketing, LLC.

The game will take place on September 1 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Two teams from the OVAC, Wheeling Park and Edison, will square off in the first game set for 6 p.m. The second game will take place between two Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) teams, Butler and Hempfield. Kickoff for that game will be approximately 8:30 p.m.

Teams from the OVAC and the WPIAL will square off against each other beginning in the 2006 season. Such a format was not feasible this year due to scheduling restrictions.

Steve Lee, Bethany Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, said, "I feel that these games will add to the excitement of the beginning of the football season in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and the northern panhandle of West Virginia. All three areas have a rich tradition of high school football and this event will add great memories for the players, coaches and fans of high school football in the region. I am proud that Bethany College has become a partner to help make this an annual kickoff for the high school football season."

The OVAC and the WPIAL are two of the largest high school athletic conferences in the country with a long list of highly notable current and former professional athletes as alumni. This year's teams involved in the Tri-State Kickoff have some of the largest enrollments in their respective leagues.

The games will air live on a newly developed radio network with a reach across the tri-state region. The game is part of a full Labor Day weekend of activities planned at and around Heinz Field, which includes concerts, a ribs fest, and the Pitt-Notre Dame football game.

Tickets went on sale August 1 at many local retailers, including Ticketmaster.