PARKERSBURG -The football programs from Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South got off to an early start Monday as each team conducted its first practice of the 2014 season at 7:30 a.m.
That's when the Big Reds of coach Don Reeves took the artificial surface of Stadium Field and the Patriots of coach Mike Eddy took to the grass practice field next to the Erickson All-Sports Facility.
PHS -coming off a 4-6 campaign last fall -was expecting 61 players to show up and that's the exact number who were present.
"Everybody we expected was there,'' said Reeves. "We had no major surprises.''
Big Red fans wanting to meet the members of the team will have the opportunity to do so on Friday night, when PHS conducts its annual ice cream social.
That won't be the only home event for PHS in the preseason as the Big Reds will scrimmage Winfield at Stadium Field at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 15, the first home scrimmage the Big Reds have conducted in four years.
Players at all state schools can't put on pads until Friday, when contact drills get under way. Until then, coaches spend most of the practice time either conditioning or going over schemes.
"We put in our offense and defense in June,'' Reeves said. "We spent today reviewing our base offense and defense.''
Eddy, in his second year at South's head coach, welcomed 65 players in grades 9-12.
"We may get a few more,'' he said. "There's still some guys walking around the school that could help us. We're still recruiting the hallways.''
Eddy said South installed its offense and defense in June and did some fine-tuning on Monday.
"We're light-years ahead of where we were at last year,'' said Eddy, who returns a number of key starters from his first South squad that finished 2-8. "We return a lot of guys. We've got a lot of game experience.''
Eddy has made some staff changes, adding former South star Matt Shamblin and former PHS standout Joey Lindamood to his group of assistant coaches.
South plans to conduct its media day this Thursday while PHS will follow suit two days later.
Patriot fans will be treated to a scoreboard featuring video this season at Erickson.
Also breaking camp for a morning session was Parkersburg Catholic under fourth-year head coach Jeff Campbell.
A total of 18 players attended opening day with at least two individuals expected to arrive throughout the week.
"We did a lot of conditioning - we made sure kids worked hard," Campbell said. "We did more conditioning in the evening session, but that was more for learning."
The Crusaders' only three losses last season occurred to teams that at one point were ranked in the Top 5. PCHS finished with seven victories but missed the Class A playoffs by one-tenth of a point.
"Actually, the guys came into camp in pretty good shape," Campbell said. "They looked good and pushed it hard in the weight room in the offseason. For the first day, I was pretty pleased with conditioning."