PARKERSBURG - Both BACF football squads from West Virginia and Ohio went through their final full practices Wednesday in preparation for Friday night's 21st annual Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis Football Classic at 7 p.m. at Parkersburg High School's Stadium Field.
The W.Va. team has "got a few (players) who I think are just flat-out natural leaders," said head coach Jeff Campbell from Parkersburg Catholic. "And some of them are quiet until they get out on the field and walk the talk."
Campbell credits the coming together of the team on both offense and defense to assistant coaches that are normally head coaches themselves in Wirt County's Jason Hickman and Jodi Mote of St. Marys, but designed offensive and defensive game plans respectively for Campbell.
"With all the experience they've got, they built systems on the particular talent we had for this game." said Campbell. "And the kids were able to pick up on them real well."
For West Virginia, Ritchie County's Alex Lipscomb will start at quarterback Friday night. "He's picked up the offense really well," said Campbell, "as the offense is a lot further along than I thought it would be after just five or six days of practice."
No. 2 at QB is Campbell's own PC signal-caller Payton Sturm, "who's just so smart and sees stuff," said Campbell. "Plus, he'll play a fair amount of defense as well."
Also, "we're working on running-back packages with different sets and that are skill specific," said Campbell, "since we've got certain kids who do certain things really, really well.
"And overall, we're hoping to be able to rotate kids around, both offensively and defensively. It's awfully fun having this many kids and then the talent level that's out there."
For the Ohio team come Friday night, "intensity is the most important thing," said head coach Greg Adams from Belpre. "That and play as a unit and believe in one another, and I think we're going to be just fine."
On offense, "with the type of players that we've got, I knew after the first practice that we had to run a spread offense," said Adams. "We've got some kids with speed, we've got some that are big, and we've got some too that are big and fast.
"And I'll tell you, they've truly been such a real pleasure to coach. They're all quality players who can play different positions and are very knowledgeable about football."
Adams said he'd "love to have an all-star team like this with so much talent every year at Belpre. But this is a little different situation, and of course, it's for a great cause - to raise money to find a cure for this terrible disease. I just hope that the stands are packed Friday night.
"Out ultimate team goal, though, would be to go over to PHS Friday night and win that game."
Ohio has three quarterbacks on its roster - Chandler Lang of Fort Frye, Marietta's Anthony Kimbrough and Austin Klintworth from Warren.
"We'll probably go into the game with Austin and Chandler at the two quarterback positions," said Adams, "and then use Anthony as our third QB. Although he's on defense at middle safety, so will get plenty of playing time there, which will keep him loose too, in case something happens to one of the other two."