CHARLESTON - For the majority of the nearly 100 players and coaches who will take part in Saturday's North-South All-Star Football Classic at the University of Charleston's Laidley Field, the game will represent little more than another road game.
However, for former-Parkersburg South standout Logan Cox the 7 p.m. kickoff will be the first of many times the first team (Class AAA) all-stater hopes to have on the artificial turf.
Cox, who had originally been considered a part of the 2013 recruiting class at the University of Akron, elected to take his talents to the Mountain State's capital and play at the University of Charleston.
"It's exciting," said Cox, who is one of the 35-players on St. Marys head coach Jodi Mote's North Bears squad that will take on the South Cardinals. "It's close enough so my family and friends can come and watch me play, but far enough that it still feels like college."
During his tenure as a Patriot, Cox was a versatile, two-way standout. His final season at the Blizzard Avenue school witnessed him rush 66 times for 654 yards and six touchdowns and haul in 11 passes for 179 yards (16.3 ypc). Defensively, he was one of the team's top tacklers, finishing with two sacks and five interceptions - one returned for a touchdown.
"It feels good to get the pads back on," said the player. "I decided not to play in the BACF game last week so that I could play in this one and the OVAC game later."
The layoff did not slow him down.
"He (Cox) is a hardnosed player," said Mote, who played in the 1992 classic. "He is an extremely versatile kid that will help us in a lot of areas."
Primarily on defense, however, where he is slated to open the game at the outside linebacker/strong safety position.
"For the most part we are doing the same things that I did at South. The terminology is a little different, but essentially my duties are the same," Cox added.
And, for the most part, the opposition on the other side of the football will be the same.
"There are several players on the South team that I played against last fall. But, there are some, especially the Class A and Class AA players, that will be new to me."
Regardless of who lines up against him, however, Cox knows the North will have its work cut of for it if it wants to break the Cardinals' five-game winning streak.
"That (breaking the losing streak) is why we are playing," said the player. "It's been since 2008 since we (the North) have won one of these games and we'd like to be the team that gets it done."
He and his Bears won't have to worry about one standout South player as Kennedy Award winner Ryan Switzer from George Washington has elected to bypass the game.
"Really, it isn't about the players who are not here," said Mote. "It's about the 35 guys we have out there who have given up their time to come down here and play for a very important cause."
And, it hasn't stopped Cox from enjoying the most important part of the week-long event.
"Winning is nice, and we all want to win, but getting to meet players from around the state that you normally only see on Friday nights is just as important. The hardest part of any all star game is building team chemistry," Cox said. "That's what this week is all about."
To help with that the players have been treated to picnics, movies and pool parties. Events designed to take the players' minds off the grind of the two-a-day practices and give them opportunities to develop friendships that will last a lifetime.
The only thing that could be better for Cox would be a victory at the field he will call home for the next four years.