Rine: Wishes for the Football Season
WHEELING – Guess what today is? Tired of guessing?
If you needed more than one chance to blurt out ‘football season,’ you are hereby ordered to go ahead and continue reading the horoscopes.
C’mon, man. Let’s give a warm Ohio Valley welcome to his majesty, King Football.
I’ve covered college and pro sporting events including the Stanley Cup Finals and have gotten the opportunity to rub elbows with a number of hall of fame athletes through this job. Still to this day though, nothing gives me the feeling I get walking into a high school football stadium on Friday nights in the fall.
Some will say that’s old fashioned, while others might believe it’s a downright ridiculous statement. Call it what you will, but I’ll simply refer to myself as lucky since I live in a place where most feel the same as I do toward our high school football teams.
With that being said, I’m going to give you my wish list for each Ohio Valley football team for the upcoming season. No matter who you cheer for, I hope you get what you’re hoping for.
Barnesville: A few more footballs to go around as Matt Johnson turns the Shamrocks into a spread offense.
Beallsville: An All-Ohio year for the pass-catch combination of Teryn Jarrett and Drew Tubaugh. It figures to be one of the top duos around.
Beaver Local: The erasing of consecutive 1-9 seasons as this club gets back to Beaver Local football – ground and pound – behind a mammoth offensive line.
Bellaire: The quick maturation of some green receivers, which would make the Big Reds offense one of the most explosive in the valley.
Bishop Donahue: A passing game to complement the hard-running Jordan Bonar. Coach John Durdines believes he has the man to accomplish this in sophomore Jesse Padlow.
Bridgeport: The Bulldogs aren’t blessed with a lot of depth, so the health of running back Dallas Fields will be of the utmost importance.
Brooke: A return to the playoffs after a one-year absence under the direction of new coach Sean Blumette.
Buckeye Local: Big-time leadership out of a huge senior class of 19. It will be needed because the Panthers lost a lot of two-way stalwarts to graduation.
Buckeye Trail: A return to the glory days when Jeff Snedegar roamed the field under the direction of first-year coach Dale Broomhall.
Caldwell: Coach Josh Perkins needs his Redskins to finish games better. They let a number of close second-half games get away last season (4-6).
Cambridge: For tailback Trevor Hardesty to step up and fill the huge shoes of the graduated Dashaun Lewis.
Cameron:The type of celebration befitting a school that is marking its 100th season of playing football. That means playoffs.
Conotton Valley: A little luck staying upright for junior quarterback Colton Cotus. He’s the only QB listed on Coach Eric Schumacher’s roster.
East Liverpool: A replacement for do-it-all Marky Thompkins who did some freakishly athletic things the last four years.
Edison: A little bit left in the tank at the end of games. Coach Mike McKenzie made conditioning a priority in the offseason and that carried into August.
Fort Frye: Continued improvement for quarterback Chandler Lang, one of the more athletic kids in the OVAC who you probably haven’t heard of.
Frontier: A little bit more experience. The Cougars took their lumps with a young group last season.
Harrison Central: The school’s second playoff berth. Coach Justin Kropka has the athletes, but the Huskies lack depth.
Hundred: The Hornets feature more athletes than on average, but they need to mature fast.
Indian Creek: A second consecutive playoff berth for Coach Andrew Connor is a possibility with a team that will run the football more than in the recent past.
John Marshall: Continuity. The Monarchs haven’t had much of it in the last few seasons, but from the administration to the parents, Coach Rick Goodrich seems to have everyone on the same page.
Linsly: It’s a tall order, but a class that even begins to rival the one that just graduated. The 2011-12 class is arguably the best to ever go through the school.
Magnolia: A record-breaking season for senior receiver Stephen Rogalski, The Intelligencer’s Sophomore of the Year two years ago.
Martins Ferry: To stem the tide until injured fullback Trent Neavin returns. This kid is an animal on both sides of the football.
Meadowbrook: A breakout season on the new turf from junior tailback Clay Lapp.
Monroe Central: A go-to receiver for Korey Lafferre, who has moved from that position to quarterback this season.
Morgantown: The Mohigans have all the big boys on their schedule coming to Pony Lewis Field this season. It has the makings of a special season that could end in Wheeling.
Oak Glen: A Hunt Award victory for Preston Murray, as the best lineman in the state of West Virginia. The two players that finished ahead of him in voting for the award last season have graduated.
Paden City: A couple extra bodies. The Wildcats are a handful of injuries away from not being able to field a team.
Parkersburg South: The respect it deserves after making it to the state quarterfinals last season. The Patriots return everyone.
River: Mike Flannery says this team mirrors that of his 2007-2008 teams in terms of work ethic. Here’s hoping the results match.
Shadyside: The lines will hold the key for the Tigers this season. Shadyside needs to grow up in a hurry along the fronts.
Shenandoah: A season of exploding scoreboards as Kaleb Lawrence takes over as coach.
St. Clairsville: Pure and simply, health. I want to see what this team can accomplish at full strength.
Steubenville: Another shot at Cardinal Mooney in the postseason. You know everyone associated with Big Red wants the same.
Steubenville Catholic: Improved play along the offensive line in order to give Brenton Colabella plenty of time to pick apart opposing defenses.
St. John: The Irish are on their way back up. A steady season builds for the future.
Toronto: Some sure-handed tacklers is the place to start. The Red Knights had issues in that area last season.
Tyler Consolidated: Plenty of space in the open field for senior receiver Alex Doak.
Union Local: The Jets have lost 19 in a row, so I want to see them get off the schneid.
University: Another All-West Virginia season for Deion Cunningham.
Valley: Tom West says this is one of his most talented teams. Hopefully they live up to that lofty sentiment.
Weir: The return of Tony Filberto immediately raises expectations. Here’s to a big season from quarterback William Larch, who is a heckuva athlete.
Weirton Madonna: How about 1,000 yards rushing and passing from junior quarterback Ross Comis?
Wellsville: Barring something unforeseen, the Tigers are headed back to the playoffs for a second season in a row. And they aren’t likely to be a No. 8 seed this time.
Wheeling Central: Three backs with 1,000 yards rushing. OC Jason Rine promises such a scenario is possible.
Wheeling Park: A big season from QB Zach Phillips. If he can get the ball out quickly and accurately, it will further open room for a vaunted Patriots running game.
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net