* Spreads The Word: In past football meetings against one another, both Parkersburg South and Ripley have attempted to establish their running games.
This year, when the Patriots and Vikings open the season against one another on Friday, Aug. 24, at the Erickson All-Sports Facility, look for the football to spend a lot of time in the air.
Both teams are going to the spread formation in order to take advantage of their team speed. South senior quarterback Tyler Bolen and Ripley sophomore signal-caller Trevor Tucker will have plenty of opportunities to test out their arms. Bolen will have a bevy of talented receivers including Logan Cox, Wes Mitchem and Braxton Johnson. Tucker will enjoy the services of Quaseem Fields and Justin Hinzman.
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Magnolia High School coach Mark Batton barks instructions to his troops during a recent workout in New Martinsville. Mangolia opens the season on Saturday night, Aug. 25, versus Linsly at Wheeling Island Stadium.
* Getting Their Kicks: Every football coach knows just how important special teams are to their program's success. That includes Parkersburg High School coach Don Reeves and Parkersburg South mentor Jon Bolen.
Both will be blessed this fall with outstanding kicking games.
PHS will enjoy the services of kicker Cody Roney and punter Tyler Foster, who are among the best in the state at what they do.
The same can be said for South kicker Issac Boles and punter Braxton Johnson.
Look for both Parkersburg teams to be, er, special.
* Honoring The Champions: When Ravenswood High School makes its home debut against defending Class AA state champion Wayne on Friday, Sept. 14, the Pioneers won't be the only state champions to grace Flinn Field that evening.
That's because Ravenswood will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1972 state championship team.
* Flashback to Old School: With one full week of practice in the books, Magnolia coach Mark Batton was still uncertain who would fill the void at placekicker and punter.
"We're trying to find somebody to kick off, and kick that thing down there and go cover it," Batton said. "That's a lost art, I've always said. I remember when I was a kid, we would go out and punt and kick, and try to punt over each other's head.
"You don't get a lot of experience when you are playing that on TV. Hopefully, we will find somebody to do that for us."
Magnolia opens the regular season at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, against Linsly at Wheeling Island Stadium - the same venue where the Blue Eagles won the Class AA state championship two years ago. Linsly is the same school which defeated defending Class A state champion Wheeling Central during the regular season last year.
The schedule doesn't get any easier. Class A state runner-up Williamstown pays a visit to Alumni Field in New Martinsville the following Friday.
Magnolia will make the transition to Class A this season.
"We know the job Williamstown coach Terry Smith does down there - we know it will definitely be another battle, but that's your gauge," Batton said. "You want to see where you are in that class."