PARKERSBURG -After raising more than $150,000 in donations during the past week, a group of local businessmen determined to see the Stadium Field construction project finished as soon as possible announced during a Monday evening rally at the stadium they are $200,000 away from achieving that goal.
Dr. Joe Weaver, a former Parkersburg High School all-state football player who served as spokesman for the group, told the several hundred community members and PHS students in attendance that the $150,000 raised in seven days "gets us close.'' Weaver compared the situation to a football team possessing the ball on a fourth down and three yards to go situation.
The goal of the businessmen, who are working alongside the members of the Parkersburg High School Stadium Field Committee, is to have the stadium open in time for the Sept. 20 football game against Capital High School.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg High School gridders, from left, Chandler Hamilton, Aaron Roberts, Dalton Shamblin, Dan Fox and Zack Garrison get the Big Red football players together for a huddle and 'breakdown' following the end of Monday's gathering at Stadium Field for an update on fundraising for stadium repairs.
If that occurs, the PHS football team would have four home football games, as it already has moved its Aug. 30 season opener against Warren-originally scheduled for Stadium Field-to Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta.
"Football is the cash cow for every sport at this school,'' Weaver said. "If you were thinking about writing a check, write it. Let's get the buzz going.''
Weaver said once the improvements to the home side bleachers have been completed, "this facility is going to be gorgeous.'' He then looked up toward the press box at the Steve Daugherty Booth and uttered the long-time Big Red announcer's trademark word, "Unbelievable.''
Weaver emphasized this is not a mercy plea, rather this is "what we do because we are Big Reds.''
Weaver's words brought a rousing response from those in attendance, including members of the Big Red football team, who were conducting practice on the stadium's artificial surface as the crowd began to arrive. Other teams who also call the stadium home were well represented with the boys and girls soccer and cross country programs, the PHS cheerleaders, Red Wings, band and the Big Red Indian, the school's mascot, all in attendance.
Those working on the stadium's behalf have met with the contractors performing the work and honed back the immediate project to the absolute necessities to get the stadium open on Sept. 20.
Needless to say, Monday's news was welcomed by those who call the stadium home.
PHS football coach Don Reeves, while emphasizing his team's mission right now is to get ready for the Warren game, said "it looks that we will play here on Sept. 20.''
Reeves noted it is quite possible that Capital will come to town that night ranked No. 1 in Class AAA. Capital quarterback Tyrhee Pratt, a sophomore, already is receiving looks from top major college programs.
PHS Athletics Director Lori Lowers said without the revenue generated from home football games, all sports at PHS will suffer.
"If we do not come together and make this happen, football revenues this year will be gone,'' she said in a press release. "Revenues from these home games cover travel, uniforms, officials, equipment and facility upgrades for all sports. It is crucial for our athletes and PHS supporters everywhere that we get Stadium Field open as quickly as possible.''