Licking Heights High School coach Darren Waters pointed out last week that he and his staff also will be ready for the annual Licking County-Muskingum Valley All-Star Football Game.

Licking Heights High School coach Darren Waters pointed out last week that he and his staff also will be ready for the annual Licking County-Muskingum Valley All-Star Football Game.

"I know the kids are excited; us, too," he said. "Last year we did the Mid-Ohio Valley game down at Canal Winchester. That was my first all-star game (as a coach), and it was really a lot of fun coaching all the local seniors we'd heard about and read about for so long."

Waters and his staff were selected for this year's Licking County-Muskingum Valley game, which will be held for the 27th time, after leading the Hornets to their greatest season in 2007. They ran off nine consecutive victories to start, finished 10-2 overall and posted the program's first playoff victory with a 42-34 win over Portsmouth in a Division IV regional quarterfinal, also the first postseason game hosted at the school.

"It's a nice, nice honor for us," assistant coach Tim O'Cain said.

Dresden Tri-Valley coach Justin Buttermore and his staff will lead Muskingum Valley, which after a 23-21 victory in 1990 led the all-time series 10-4.

"Knowing coach Buttermore, I think he'll have some new wrinkles to throw at us," Waters said. "We're expecting to see the spread (offense)."

Licking County players will gather at noon July 6 at the Evans Athletic Complex in Newark , which will be the team's training site. They'll undergo physicals, take a team picture and then go through the first practice. Subsequent practices will be from 5-8 p.m. July 7-10 and July 14-16. There will be a walk-through July 17 at Licking Valley before the banquet is held at 6 p.m., also at Licking Valley .

The game is 7 p.m. July 18 at White Field in Newark .

The rosters were finalized earlier this month, although some changes likely will take place before the game. Watkins Memorial quarterback and defensive back K.C. Weber, for example, said last week he likely won't play at the request of Wright State, where he will play baseball next year.

Weber, whose brother, Corey, was named Outstanding Player for Licking County in last summer's 21-0 victory in Zanesville , had ankle surgery after the season last fall.

"I wish I could (play)," he said. "I'm listening to my coaches, though."

Licking County has won consecutive games, six of the last seven and nine of the last 12 overall to forge a 13-all tie in the series. Newark Catholic's Bill Franks was last year's winning coach, and Licking County also prevailed 24-0 at White Field in 2006 under former Wildcats coach Scott Beery, who will be the guest speaker at the banquet.

Licking County has not given up any points in the last nine quarters dating to a 14-7 loss in Philo in 2005.