PARKERSBURG - Mike Eddy conducted his first two practices as the head football coach at Parkersburg South on Monday.
Eddy and his staff welcomed approximately 80 players to the Erickson All-Sports Facility for a pair of morning sessions as teams across the Mountain State began preparations for the 2013 season.
"We only had two surprises,'' Eddy said of two players who showed up without previously declaring their intentions or participating in preseason weightlifting drills.
Parkersburg High School?head coach Don Reeves watches as the Big Reds open drills at Stadium Field on Monday. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
Eddy described Parkersburg South as "a perfect situation. We have great facilities, tremendous support, talent and numbers.''
Eddy said he expects South to be competing for championships.
"For us not to be a playoff contender, we're doing something wrong,'' he said.
Eddy wears his passion for football. He's trying to build that same passion in his players.
He said assistant coach Matt Kimes, who came to South after years on the Parkersburg High School staff, texted him on Sunday expressing excitement that football finally had arrived.
Even with Monday's weather cooler than normal, players were given several water breaks.
"We're trying to focus on the details,'' he said. "We must do the little things right.''
South will have 10 two-a-day sessions before going to after school practices once classes begin. The Patriots open the season on Friday, Aug. 30, at Ripley.
As opening days go, Monday was a good one for the Big Reds, who have approximately 60 players on their varsity/junior varsity team.
"The kids were running to the football,'' said PHS coach Don Reeves, who is placing a major emphasis on defense. "The first practice we started out on defense. The second practice we worked on offense.''
Reeves said the 70-degree weather kept the players "mentally into what they were doing.''
Although two players Parkersburg was expecting to show up didn't, they were replaced on the roster by a duo who wasn't expected but did make it to both practices.
Nearly all of those who participated in drills had spent the spring and summer in the Big Reds' weight program and their conditioning paid off Monday.
Parkersburg has a pair of scrimmages scheduled, at Winfield on Aug. 17 and at the Mountain State Athletic Conference Grid-A-Rama at Laidley Field on Aug. 24 when the Big Reds will meet Spring Valley at 9:30 a.m.
It seems like yesterday that Williamstown football coach Terry Smith was watching the likes of Jake Tracewell, Dakota Watson and Trace Hart suit up as pee wee football players for the Yellowjackets program.
Those same individuals are now the anchor of the backfield for Smith's varsity unit.
"I was telling one of my coaches that I can't believe Jake is a senior and Dakota is a junior," Smith said. "Dakota was one of our ballboys, but now we are leaning on them pretty good."
Williamstown opened two-a-days with a 7:30-9:30 a.m. session followed by a 12:30-2:30 p.m. session for the first week.
"I'm fired up," Smith said. "I'm always pumped up. I know I have more fun practicing and preparing than I do for game night."
The opening session went according to schedule with the exception of a few lapses during conditioning drills.
"We seem to be where we are supposed to be and where we are going - and that's due to the leadership of the seniors," Smith said.
The weather in the morning was ideal for all the sweating players suffered through. On one hand, that might be a bonus since water breaks were few and far between. On the other hand, opening night of the season tends to involve humidity.
"It's a double-edged sword," Smith said. "I like it because you get more things done. But I also like it to be hot to make it harder on them right now."
Williamstown's scrimmages are set for 10 a.m. on Aug. 17 at Belpre against the Golden Eagles and Caldwell, and again at 6 p.m. on Aug. 23 at home against Liberty Harrison.