EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series of summer articles looking at Mid-Ohio Valley high school football teams.
PARKERSBURG -An optimist would say that Parkersburg High School's football team is coming off back-to-back state playoff appearances and has one of the best running back tandems in the state in senior Adam Lindamood and junior Chandler Hamilton.
A pessimist, on the other hand, would say the Big Reds haven't won a state playoff game since winning the state championship in 2007 and that Parkersburg must get better defensively for that trend to end.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg’s Adam Lindamood runs through the defensive line during a Big Red practice session at Stadium Field. The Big Reds open the season Aug. 24 at Brooke.
Head coach Don Reeves, in his third year at the Big Reds helm, welcomes back just seven starters from last year's 7-4 squad that was ousted in the opening round of the state playoffs.
Four of those starters are skill players. Lindamood, the third of three brothers to start at running back for PHS, battled a knee injury last season, but still managed to gain 920 yards on 178 attempts. This year, he's running without a knee brace and the difference during the three-week summer workout period was quite noticeable.
While Lindamood likely will get as many carries as he can handle, he isn't the only talented member of the PHS backfield. At 6-foot, 210-pounds, he provides Parkersburg with a power runner capable of shrugging off would-be tacklers. Meanwhile, Hamilton, a 5-10, 175-pound junior, is a track sprinter who has the speed and the moves to score on any play. He gained 432 yards last year on just 76 carries.
Aug. 24:at Brooke
Aug. 31:Cabell Midland
Sept. 7:at Marietta
Sept. 21:at St. Albans
Oct. 5:Parkersburg South
Oct. 12:at Woodrow Wilson
Oct. 26:South Charleston
Nov. 2:at George Washington
Of course, the most-asked question on any football team is "Who's the quarterback'' That's a particularlhy good question at PHS since two-year starter Alex Ash graduated, leaving a void at football's most important position.
Due to his impressive work in summer drills, junior Aaron Roberts is the heir-apparent at quarterback. Roberts transferred to PHS before the 2011 season from a Virginia high school that is larger than PHS where he played quarterback as a freshman. At PHS last year, he tore his ACL the second junior varsity game of the season, and was lost for the rest of the year.
While he obviously lacks any varsity experience, Roberts has been impressive, leading PHS to the title of its 7-on-7 tournament.
When Roberts throws the ball, he will enjoy the talents of a pair of senior wide receivers in Matt Santer and Skyler Terrell, both of whom also will join Chandler in the Big Reds' defensive backfield. Santer stands 6-foot-2 and gives Roberts a big target while Terrell is a key member of the PHS wrestling program and carries that tough mentality onto the gridiron.
The Big Reds, who always seem to have a strong kicking game, welcome the return of reliable senior Cody Roney, who can uphold that tradition. Roney is comfortable on field goal kicks of 40 yards or less and virtually automatic on points after touchdown. PHS also possesses one of the state's top punters in Kyle Foster, although the Big Reds are hoping not to see him employing that skill too often.
Parkersburg's immediate challenge to build offensive and defensive lines. The only returning full-time starter on those units is two-way tackle DJ Carozza, a 300-pound standout who gives PHS an anchor. Another senior, Austin Alatorre, was a part-time starter a year ago, and will be pressed into full-time duty this season.
Reeves, who served as the quarterback for the PHS state championship team in 1978, has a lofty goal for his Big Reds.
"We want to go all the way to Wheeling,'' he said, referring to the Super Six state championship game.
To accomplish that goal, the Big Reds have gone back to the weightlifting program they employed when Parkersburg captured back-toback state titles in 2006 and 2007.
In addition to participating in the state's biggest and most rugged league, the Mountain State Athletic Conference, PHS will meet non-conference rivals Parkersburg South, Brooke and Marietta. The Big Reds will play eight straight weeks before taking a brather prior to closing out the regular season against South Charleston and defending state runnerup George Washington.
"We are going to have to be ready every week,'' said Reeves.