- Ravenswood: First-year head coach Mick Price managed to retain most of the assistant coaches who served on the staff of long-time head coach Dick Sturm, who retired following the 2011 season. Sturm's son Steve will serve as the offensive coordinator while Jason Jackson will continue to be the defensive coordinator.
The biggest addition to the staff is running backs coach Joe Jelich, a former standout at both Ravenswood and West Virginia University. Jelich will serve as the running backs coach.
He will be quite familiar with two members of the backfield as his sons, sophomores Rhys and Connor, are both vying for starting positions. Both Jelichs stand 5-foot-9. Connor weighs 202, Rhys 191.
Photo by Jay W. Bennett
Calhoun County senior running back Trent Phillips takes a water break during practice session earlier this week.
- Ripley: They say it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.
That certainly applies to Ripley senior wide receiver and defensive back Quaseem Fields.
At 5-foot-7, 135 pounds, Fields often will be going up against players who dwarf him by 100 pounds.
But he has the speed and the quickness to more than hold his own in the state's strongest Class AAA league -the Mountain State Athletic Conference.
Fields is a three-sport athlete at Ripley. He plays basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring.
When he's not playing sports, you can find him practicing his favorite hobby fishing.
He loves to catch catfish. His biggest catch thus far is a 30-pounder.
- Tyler Consolidated: Friday was picture day for the 35 members of the Tyler Consolidated football program.
The roster consists of eight returning starters on offense and nine on defense. But making the best impression during summer conditioning and the first two weeks of practice was the freshman class, which accounts for 40 percent of the team.
Last year as eighth graders, this same group lost only one game.
"The freshmen were here religiously working out during the offseason," Tyler Consolidated coach Rob Caldwell said. "Hopefully, they will stick together and good things will happen."
The first of two Tyler Consolidated scrimmages will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at Bellaire where River and Cameron will also participate. Before the regular season opens on Aug. 24 at home against Williamstown, the Silver Knights will scrimmage against Robert C. Byrd at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16 in Kidwell.
- Roane County: The Raiders of head coach Paul Burdette have been working hard in the offseason and will get their first test at 10 a.m. today when they head to Calhoun County for a scrimmage.
Roane County, which had its media day on Friday, is 33 members strong and today will be their first showing as a team without the likes of Dylan Cottrell and Nathan Reynolds.
"Dylan and Reynolds were a big part of it last year," said junior Raider quarterback Hunter Bradley. "Our running backs, this year, we can spread it out everywhere."
One of those key backs in the offense for Roane County this season will be senior John Ash, who played guard on offense last year.
- Ritchie County: After leading the Rebels to the postseason in his first season as the head coach at Ritchie County, Mike Dawson is finding that expectations for this year's team has grown despite the loss of seniors Darrenger Goff, Reno Jackson and Ryder Bolin.
"Everyone is a little more hopeful," said Dawson. "The kids believe they can win and the rest of the community is starting to believe so it makes things a little bit easier."
The key could revolve around the return of senior quarterback Trevor Shepler, who missed most of the 2011 season, and an offensive front that returns 80 percent of its starters.
"He (Shepler) makes us multi-faceted," continued the coach. "Hopefully, this can give us some balance back. And, we are going to have to have it because we don't have the big backs returning."