PC, Belpre set to renew grid rivalry

In case you haven’t seen this fall’s football schedules for Parkersburg Catholic and Belpre high schools, the Crusaders and Golden Eagles are – finally after a lengthy layoff – renewing their football rivalry with a regular-season game at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18 at Stadium Field.

Somewhere between 1974 and 1983, the series was dropped and not resumed until now. The friendship between the two current head coaches, PC’s Jeff Campbell and Belpre’s Greg Adams, had a big part in the game being put back on the schedules.

It’s sort of ironic that Campbell and Adams have become friends over the last three or four years after taking over the football programs at their respective alma maters, and playing in 7-on-7 passing scrimmages and regular scrimmages against each other.

“I like Greg; he’s a great guy,” said Campbell. “He’s building a program over there, but he’s got the same main problem we do every year, and that’s numbers.

“Greg was one of the first people that called me after I got the head job at Catholic. He wanted to go have lunch somewhere. I told him I worked in Athens, but he said, ‘No problem, I’ll come up.’ He did, we went to lunch, and just sat around and talked football for an hour. I thought that was nice of him to go out of his way to do that.”

Belpre also picked up Fort Frye again in Adams’ second year as head coach.

And even though Belpre opted to drop Warren several years ago because of size considerations, now Warren and Belpre have agreed to get together in the teams’ main pre-season Jamboree scrimmage starting next year for two meetings, one time at Warren and the other at Belpre.

“Back when I played at Belpre for Ralph Holder, we’d play Catholic, Fort Frye and Warren was always the last game of the season,” said Adams. “So it’ll be interesting bringing back teams like Catholic and Warren like we were able to do with Fort Frye.”

That said, how do Campbell and Adams see their teams faring this year?

The Crusaders missed out on the Class A state playoffs for the second straight season last year despite a 7-3 record -“proving,” Campbell said, “we can’t take anything for granted.

“But our goal every year is the playoffs and this year, the potential’s there. The kids know – that for us -we’ve got a lot of kids back, with seven or eight seniors this year, which is a bunch for us.”

Still, key graduation losses like Payton Sturm at quarterback, Kyle Bronksi at linebacker, kicker Peter Keiser and Ben Collie obviously won’t help PC at all when facing its always-rugged schedule filled with playoff contenders.

Meanwhile, Belpre is coming off a 5-5 season, which “I think should of, could of, would of been 7-3, but unfortunately wasn’t,” said Adams, 9-11 the last two years after a 1-19 start guiding the Golden Eagles’ grid fortunes.

“We were able, though, to break even last year with a number of young kids, including some outstanding players, playing key roles,” said Adams. “And if there’s anybody who thinks we’re not looking at having a better record this year, then they don’t know the type of kids we have and their determination.”

Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at shemmelgarn@newsandsentinel.com