INSTITUTE - Wood County is represented on the North squad in Saturday's 7:05 p.m. North-South Football Classic at Laidley Field in Charleston by two players - Jeremy Bell from Parkersburg High and Aaron Jones of Williamstown.
Being a native West Virginian, Bell said that ''it was definitely a goal for me to play in this (game).''
He remembers ''coming down here when I was smaller, watching North-South games, and watching (former PHS quarterback) Marc Kimes play, and just growing up wanting to play in the North-South game.''
Of course, for this week here at West Virginia State for North-South practice, Bell is on the same team with ''most of these guys I've played against. I have great relations with guys like (Roane County's) Dylan Cottrell and (Wirt County's) Dalton Brindo. I've played against them since I was like 6 years old, so it's just cool to actually play with them, and meet them again and talk to them because I haven't talked to them for a really long time.
''And the kid from Williamstown, Aaron Jones, I played against him too.''
Also, there's several players here who Bell lined up against as a Big Red, like Tim Faulker (RB/LB) from Brooke. ''I still can't tackle him,'' said Bell. ''I'm just happy he's on our team.'' But Bell added, the majority of the players in North-South camp ''I've never played against or I never have seen before, so it's cool meeting new people.''
If You Go...
- The North-South Football Classic is set to begin at
7:05 p.m. Saturday at Laidley Field in Charleston.
The 6-4 Bell, although a tight end at PHS, is ''actually playing wide receiver here because in the offense we have, we don't have any tight ends, so they put me at wide receiver. I can deal with it, that's fine. I like just catching the ball, that's the thing I do.''
On the other side of the ball, Bell said he ''might play a little defensive end or linebacker.''
When Bell finally settled on Shepherd for college and to play football for the Rams, ''it was a hard decision'' to choose between basketball and football for college. ''I kind of wanted to play basketball, but didn't know what to do, but finally decided on football. And I'm kind of glad I did, because I miss it.''
Bell expects the North ''is going to beat the South'' come Saturday night, ''because we actually really do work really hard down here. We work our butts off in practice - it's just like normal high school practice.''
For the 6-2 Jones, born and raised in West Virginia like Bell, playing in the North-South game ''has been something I've looked forward to.''
Jones admitted being ''pretty surprised'' he was nominated for the game. ''I mean single-A coming down here to play, it's pretty exciting,'' he said.
Plus, he said, ''I'm having a great time here, making new friends, enjoying it.'' But it's work too, Jones knows, because both teams want to win, so ''I'm a little sore.''
Jones said it's ''nice to get to know guys who you've played against, making friends with them. We're teammates now.''
In addition, ''Dalton Brindo and I are pretty good friends and I know Jeremy Bell, so it's good to be with them here.''
Jones is headed to West Liberty this fall to play football, saying he ''liked'' the northern West Virginia college because ''it's not far away, and it's small.''
While at Williamstown, Jones was part of a Class A state championship squad as a freshman on the kickoff team, then started for three years, with a state-runner-up finish this past fall as a Yellowjacket senior.
Saturday night, Jones will be playing outside linebacker on defense. ''It's where I like to play, it's where I played in high school,'' he said.
''I came down to have a good time, but came down to win. I don't want to come down here and lose.''