Don't tell Parkersburg High School football coach Don Reeves lightning doesn't struck twice in the same place.
That's because -for the second straight season -the Big Reds have lost one of their most valuable players, possibly for the year.
Last year, Parkersburg suffered the early-season loss of senior team captain, running back, defensive back, kick returner and punt returner Chad Collins.
Now, PHS is going to be without the services of team captain, wide receiver, defensive back, kick returner and punt returner Matt Santer, who suffered a separated shoulder at Friday night's Mountain State Athletic Conference Grid-O-Rama conducted at Laidley Field.
Santer was attempting to tackle returning Kennedy Award winner Ryan Switzer of George Washington when the injury occurred. Now, Parkersburg must open the season at Brooke without Santer, who in addition to all of the above roles also was the backup quarterback, not to mention the fastest player on the team. Whether he is able to recover from the injury and return to the field before the season ends isn't yet known, but Parkersburg is going on the assumption he will be out indefinitely.
This is the last thing PHS needed. This is an inexperienced Big Reds team.
It will go into the season with only one quarterback ready for varsity competition -junior Aaron Roberts -and his total experience is playing in one junior varsity game a year ago, when he also was the victim of a season-ending injury.
While there is no such thing as a good time for an injury, this one comes before Parkersburg will travel to Brooke on Friday night, where the Bruins will be christening a new artificial surface.
Then, the following week, the Big Reds home opener will be against Cabell Midland, who many observers are saying is a stronger contender for the Class AAA state title. So there is little time to develop a plan B.
Parkersburg struggled in both its scrimmages -at Gallia Academy and at the Grid-O-Rama -where both George Washington and Capital dominated the Big Reds.
PHS must weather this costly injury and fill the void as best it can.
The good news is Reeves and his staff were able to do just that last year, as Parkersburg won seven regular season games and qualified for the state playoffs.
Early Birds: In case you missed our list of opening week high school football games that appeared in Sunday's edition both Parkersburg's game at Brooke and Williamstown's game at Tyler Consolidated on Friday will get under way at 7 p.m.
That's the traditional starting time for games in both the northern and eastern parts of the state.
I wish it would become the standard starting time statewide. Coach Reeves likes it and so do many other coaches.
Let's hope this idea spreads to the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org