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Mark Martin's Notepad

High School Football Nuggets
August 10, 2013

Mark Martin Some nuggets from week one of high school football preseason practices in the great state of West Virginia.

-Numbers are down in many places and it's frustrating for coaches. One Class AA coach said if the boys who could honestly be a part of football would come out, his squad would feature about 60. Instead, he will go into the season with 33.

-Defending Class A state champion Wahama returns virtually everyone from a team that defeated Weirton Madonna for the title in one of the best high school games witnessed in a long time. The White Falcons topped the Blue Dons in overtime, 43-42, for the school's first-ever state football crown.

-In Roane County, Raider head coach Paul Burdette filled a vacancy on his staff with a notable name – Tom Hardman. The long-time head coach of Raider football is happy to be back after taking a break. Burdette calls Hardman, “one of my best friends.” At the moment, Hardman's son, Derek, is trying to earn a spot as an offensive lineman with the Detroit Lions.

-It looks as though the Parkersburg Big Reds (and Parkersburg Catholic) are going to get to play football at Stadium Field this season after all. Money is going to come in to complete the bleacher project on the home side of the historic venue. PHS will have to play its home opener with Warren Local in week one at Marietta's Don Drumm Stadium. Catholic, meanwhile, is going to host Buffalo at the field on the campus of Jackson Junior High in Vienna.

-Point Pleasant's football program is more ready than ever to compete in Class AAA for the second straight year. Dave Darst said several players showed a stronger commitment to the weight room after last season's opening round playoff loss to Morgantown. Point had been Class AA for several years, reaching the state championship game in 2011.

-Even though the program has had its ups and downs in recent years, football remains as important as ever before at Calhoun County High School. Glory years by Wayne Underwood and later on Marcus McPhail have many former players in the community always willing and ready to share stories with present team members.

-Parkersburg Catholic head coach Jeff Campbell said while she was a basketball player, Mary Ostrowski's recent death will be remembered this season as the Crusaders seek a return to the playoffs. Ostrowski died at the young age of 51 following a long battle with cancer. She was a true female sports pioneer in West Virginia. Ostrowski led PC to three straight basketball titles as a player before embarking on a Hall of Fame career at Tennessee. She is in three different Halls of Fame and the West Virginia Girls State Player of the Year Award is named in her honor.

-Ripley is under new leadership this season with Dave Tennant, a former Wahama White Falcon and Ohio University player, taking over the Vikings. Parkersburg South is another school that has a new man at the helm in Mike Eddy, who grew up in Tyler County. Tennant was the head coach at Eastern in Meigs County while Eddy was leading the program down the road at Gallia Academy in Gallipolis. The two will square off in week one at Ripley's Memorial Stadium.


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