ELIZABETH - Like most prep football teams in the Mid-Ohio Valley, the Tigers from Wirt County are anxiously awaiting to put pads on Friday and then start having full contact drills come Tuesday.
Head coach Jason Hickman's Tigers are coming off a 9-2 campaign and are attempting to reach the Class A playoffs for a fourth straight season
"We've had about 45 kids and everything is going pretty smooth so far," Hickman said. "We're pleased with where we are."
Photo by Jay W. Bennett
Wirt County head coach Jason Hickman talks to his team following practice Wednesday afternoon as senior Cole Nutter, near, and sophomore Trenton Hardbarger, back, listen in.
Wirt County begins school a week from today and that will cut into the Tigers' two-a-day practice schedule. However, coach Hickman noted they used the three-week summer coaching period wisely and are basically using the first week of practice for review.
While the Tigers return starting tailback Aaron Orr, coach Hickman's squad is breaking in a new quarterback in sophomore Josh Trembly, who will make his first career varsity start at Moorefield.
"We're going to spread people out, but we are going to try and be a little more balanced," said the coach. "We're going to try and stay as close to balanced as we can."
- Marietta: Adam Eichhorn has been waiting for this week to arrive ever since he was named the new head football coach at Marietta High School last December.
The Tigers broke camp with 62 players. The roster consists of 22 juniors and 17 freshmen.
"Expectations are high," said Eichhorn, who was the defensive coordinator at Marietta last season under interim boss Bob Springer.
Eichhorn is the program's fourth coach in four years.
"We're a long ways out yet, but on board, on paper, everything looks good and we're excited," Eichhorn said. "But obviously, we've got to wait until we put the pads on."
Marietta, which has not enjoyed a winning season since its playoff run in 2002, is seeking to improve upon last year's 2-8 finish. The Tigers will scrimmage Athens at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at The Plains, then play host to Ripley at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11 and John Marshall at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17.
The regular season opens on Friday, Aug. 24 in McConnellsville against Morgan.
The Tigers make their home debut on Sept. 7 against Parkersburg.
- Federal Hocking: ''We really feel like this season could be a break-out year for us if our players achieve and thrive to their abilities.''
Those were the thoughts of first-year Federal Hocking head football coach Phil Hoffman in the middle of two-a-day practices Wednesday for his Lancer gridders.
The optimism for Hoffman, a teacher at Federal Hocking for 12 years who has served as an assistant coach for several sports, comes from ''having all of our skill kids back from last year.''
The Lancers went 4-6 last year, winning four of their last seven games after getting off to an 0-3 start. ''And for the most part, we only lost two kids who were starters,'' said Hoffman. ''In addition to having great skill players back, most of our offensive line is intact, so we're a pretty veteran program as far as kids playing and the experience.''