PARKERSBURG - Lest we forget, the BACF in tonight's BACF Football Classic at Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta stands for Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis.
And the BACF slogan is: ''It's not just a game, it's a battle for a cure.''
Thus is the reason why the 7 p.m. game pitting high school seniors from both sides of the Ohio River in an Ohio versus West Virginia matchup was started 19 years ago on the same spot it will be played tonight.
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Ritchie County coach Mike Dawson speaks to members of his West Virginia squad in preparation for tonight’s 19th annual Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis Football Classic. Game time is 7 p.m. at Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta.
In the initial BACF football game in 1994, Ohio won 10-7 at Don Drumm, but West Virginia has come out on top in nine of the last 11 meetings to forge a 12-6 lead in the series.
All the proceeds from tonight's game, the first at Don Drumm since that opening one, like the previous 18 will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for research into finding a cure for this genetic disease that affects both the respiratory and digestive systems.
Last year's game at Stadium Field in Parkersburg was an oddity of sorts as both West Virginia touchdowns in a 14-0 win were not only scored by the defense, but even more unusual, on a pair of first-quarter fumble returns - first a 94-yard dash to paydirt by St. Marys' Jordan Mixer, then just 4:17 later, a 44-yard romp into the end zone by Calhoun County's Bronson Clark.
Of course, that has not been the norm for this game, which has seen only four shutouts in its history, with both head coaches - Ritchie County's Mike Dawson for West Virginia and Warren's Andy Schob for Ohio - certainly envisioning a win for their respective squads, which number 25 members for W.Va. and 33 for Ohio.
With six, Ravenswood has the most players on the West Virginia roster, followed by Wirt County with four, and Ritchie and Tyler Consolidated with three each. Warren, with seven, has the most players for Ohio, while Caldwell has six, Shenandoah four, and Marietta and Meigs three each.
Heading up the Ohio offense will be Marietta quarterback Justin Futrell with a quartet of 1,000-yard running backs in Meigs' Jeffrey Rousch, Marietta's Dedder Baker, Shenandoah's Shane Crum and Monroe Central's Kole Hogue.
Meanwhile for West Virginia, Ravenswood's Dustin Derito, who both passed and rushed for over 1,000 yards as a senior, and Wirt's Taylor Campbell, who threw for 1,352 yards last fall, will split the quarterback duties.
Running the ball for W.Va. will primarily be handled by Ritchie's Reno Jackson, who rushed for 1,236 yards as a senior, along with Ravenswood's Jeremy Lawrence, Ritchie's Darrenger Goff and St. Marys' Cole White.