PARKERSBURG - Not every Class A football program in the Mountain State has the same advantages as others, but each side is only allowed to put 11 players on the field at a time.
Whether it's the Paden City Wildcats of head man Brent Croasmun or first-year Gilmer County head coach Jason Cunningham, they understand quite well the task at hand is going to be difficult from week to week and season to season.
The Titans, who entertain rival Calhoun County on Friday night inside Morris Stadium, have 19 players and are expected to dress 18. Paden City, which heads to Clay-Battelle that night, has even fewer numbers.
"We're going with 15 players and my biggest lineman is recovering from mono and maybe he'll play next week," Croasmun said.
Calhoun County and second-year head coach Michael Fitzwater isn't working with big numbers as the Red Devils will try and extend their winning streak versus the Titans to 13 games with a roster of 29 or 30.
"These guys see each other at the (Calhoun-Gilmer) career center each day and that makes it a little bit more special to have those bragging rights for the whole year," said Fitzwater, who knows without Calhoun County providing an activities bus after school to take kids home the football program would have even fewer players.
"Where we are at it can be a tough situation getting guys to come out for the team. We are a small school and don't have the privileges of living near a town where guys can come from five minutes away. We got guys who are on the bus for an hour."
Despite the low numbers, coach Cunningham is anxious for the opener and just hopes his players can remain healthy.
"Right now we got who we have and we're looking forward to this season," he said. "Obviously, getting participation up is the big thing. Now, it's up to these guys to tough it out.
"They can show the other students what Gilmer County football is about - being willing to work and play four quarters hard and represent their school with class and hope that carries through to the hallways and other guys want to be a part of that next year."
Croasmun, now coaching his 14th season at PCHS, is hoping for a bigger team next year. He said a few players came in this year, but must sit out for 365 days.