McKibben, Allen, Neale to join PHS Football Hall of Fame
PARKERSBURG — The oldest living Big Red first team all-stater as well as a member of a state championship and runner-up team who became a tireless PHS supporter and the brother of probably the most famous PHS football player make up the second group of the 2018 class of Parkersburg High School Football Hall of Fame.
The trio of Harold McKibben, Larry Allen and William “Widdy” Neale will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame prior to Friday’s home football game with Capital.
Parkersburg High School has been playing football since 1900 and the highest scoring team in Big Reds history was the undefeated 1943 squad which averaged 39.6 points per game, said the hall of fame committee. The best offensive player on that team was quarterback Harold McKibben.
McKibben, who weighed 135 pounds, did a little bit of everything for the juggernaut Big Reds as they racked up 356 points in only nine games. That point total included 85 against Ceredo-Kenova and 78 versus arch-rival Marietta.
Although he played quarterback in Parkersburg’s single-wing offense, he was primarily a blocker for backfield mates Johnny Morris and Homer Rader. Called “the best blocker in the state” by The Parkersburg News, McKibben’s unselfish efforts were not unnoticed and his leadership qualities were undisputed.
Against Wheeling that championship season, Parkersburg rushed for 462 yards in a 48-20 victory. Illustrating how much the game has changed, PHS had zero passing yards in that victory.
McKibben finished his senior campaign with five touchdowns and one extra-point kick. He was also a standout linebacker on a prevent unit that allowed only five touchdowns.
He played two years at West Virginia University in 1944-45 and scored four touchdowns in his collegiate career. He is presently Parkersburg’s oldest living first-team all-state football player at 93 years old.
For over 60 years Larry Allen has been a Big Red — heart, soul and with every fiber of his body.
A center on the 1958 state championship football team and the 1959 state runner-up team, he was an all-state catcher and co-captain of the 1960 state runner-up baseball team.
The Big Reds were undefeated on the gridiron his junior year, going 10-0-1 and beating East Bank 34-12 for the state title. As a senior the team went 8-2-1 losing to Bluefield 19-13 in the championship. He was the team’s kicker as well as playing the line.
After graduating that year he began devoting his time and energy to helping with all forms of youth sports.
He coached Babe Ruth, Pony and American Legion baseball. He was a volunteer, board member and president of the Wood County Recreation Commission as well as being in charge of fundraising signs and banners for the Stadium Committee.
He served as a volunteer assistant to several PHS athletic directors by handling officials, running the score clock or anything else that was needed. As a reward for that effort he was named Volunteer of the Year by the West Virginia Athletic Directors. He was also the 2012 Girls Track Official of the Year.
Allen has been a youth leader and teacher at Grace Baptist and Williams Creek churches. He and his wife, Judy, have a son Mike and daughter Lori, who were both outstanding athletes at PHS.
William “Widdy” Neale
Although he played in the shadow of his older brother — Parkersburg’s most famous sports figure, Earle “Greasy” Neale — William “Widdy” Neale did not take a backseat to anyone when it came to athletic prowess.
The youngest of six children, Neale played football, basketball, baseball and track at Parkersburg, was a three-year starter on the gridiron and all-state halfback as a senior in 1918. That squad was named West Virginia state champions despite playing only three games and winning just two. Much of the 1918 season was canceled due to the Spanish Flu epidemic – a deadly illness that claimed his sister Genevieve.
Neale scored 10 touchdowns in his career and was responsible for 16 extra points. He was quarterback on the 1917 Parkersburg team that finished 10-2. As a junior he was captain of the third-team all-state squad. As a senior he moved to halfback and up to first-team all-state.
Neale played collegiately at West Virginia University, Marietta College and ultimately Yale. He was one of several transfers that led the Ivy League school to an undefeated season in 1923.
He graduated from Yale with the Class of 1925 and ran the intramural program there from 1933-1969 as well as serving as business manager for the Yale Athletic Association. He coached the Yale golf team to a national title in 1944.
Although he did not take up the game of golf until he was 34, he was a three-time Connecticut senior champion and is a member of the Connecticut State Golf Association Hall of Fame.
Neale married his Parkersburg High School sweetheart Helen Weekley. They are buried in the cemetery behind Stadium Field, as is Greasy Neale. He is survived by two grandchildren, Bill Neale of Connecticut and Deborah Marks of Arizona.