PARKERSBURG-For actor Kevin Costner playing the part of Ray Kinsella in the movie "Field of Dreams" gave him the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream of playing professional baseball.
The same could be said for the 30 or more members of the Mid-Ohio Valley Falcons of the Ohio Football League as they prepare to host the Jackson County Patriots in the team's final home contest at 7 p.m.
"A lot of these guys see themselves as professionals, but on a very, very small level," offensive coordinator Kareem Wright explained. "They played football at the high school and college levels and they don't want it to end."
The first-year Falcons (6-2 overall and 5-1 in league play) are composed of players from as far away as Mississippi, but do have a local flavor with players that participated at Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Warren, Marietta, Belpre, St. Marys, Federal Hocking and Ripley High Schools.
"A large portion of our roster are local boys," continued Wright. "Many of them played here (at Stadium Field) or at stadiums around the area. Some went to colleges in the area. Others have moved into the area for work reasons.
"But, all of them call the area home now."
The Falcons of head coach Tony Cronin head into the final weekend of the regular season riding a five-game winning streak and are still in the hunt for one of the two elusive first round home games as the post season opens next weekend. A victory over the Patriots, one of the two teams to hand MOV a setback this summer, could secure one of those spots for the Falcons.
"This is a big game for us," starting quarterback Gary Williams said. "It would be nice for us to be able to play at home in the playoffs and it would give us a chance to gain a little revenge over one of the teams that have beaten us."
Williams, a former-baseball standout at W.Va. Wesleyan, has become a standout for the Falcons under center having tossed more than two dozen touchdown passes and thrown for more than 3,000 yards in his first season as the team's signal-caller.
"I haven't played football since I was a young kid. When they opened up tryouts, I just wanted to make the team as a receiver or something. But, when the coaches came up to me and asked if I would be interested in playing quarterback, I said yes."
Williams' favorite target is a name familiar to local fans-Jeremy Fivecoait. The Warren Local graduate has been on the receiving end of nearly half of Williams touchdown throws.
"He (Fivecoait) is a big target with a lot more speed than you would expect," added the quarterback. "He also has great hands and is willing to go up and fight for the ball when it is in the air."
The running game is built around former-University of Pittsburgh player Ray Kirkley, who spent some time with the NFL's New York Giants. Kirkley has rushed for more than 600 yards this season.
"His (Kirkley) numbers would be higher, but we throw the ball a lot," said the offensive coordinator.
The rest of the receiving corps is made up of Glenville State's Anthony Mason, Parkersburg's Ishmeil Ward and South Carolina's Chris McCorkle. Fairmont State's Demetrius Davis will also see time at the position.
Up front former-Big Red Zac Stanley teams up with Ripley's Matt Clinton at tackle with Tanre Franklin (PHS) and Mike Folts (Marietta) at the guards and Corey Girard (St. Marys) and Nathan Lambert (Athens) splitting time at center.
Defensively, the Falcons operate out of a 4-3 set with Warren's Aaron Kenney and Deric Gibson manning the ends and Brandon Birchfield (Huntington) and Danny Bivins (Columbus) at the tackles.
The linebackers are Aaron Parker (FSU), Joe Terrell (Marietta College), McCorkle and Justin Crabtree with Davis and Mason at the corners and Southern Mississippi's Mike Mcgee and WVU's Jay Dillon at the safeties.
"Our defense has done a great job this year of keeping us in game while our offense came around," said Williams. "A lot of the credit for our success is because of their play."
The game is divided into four 15-minute quarters with the cost of admission being $5.
"We know that Jackson will bring a lot of fans with them, so we are just hoping that we can get a few more of our fans to show up for this final game," said the quarterback.