Small W.Va. BACF team starts practice

Photo by Steve Hemmelgarn Former St. Marys quarterback Will Billeter, left, takes a snap during BACF practice Friday in Parkersburg. Wirt County’s Josh Ellison looks on.

PARKERSBURG — West Virginia started practice Friday for the 2017 BACF Football Classic versus Ohio next Friday, June 9 at Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta.

The only catch for Parkersburg South’s Mike Eddy, the W.Va. BACF head coach, was that despite 63.6 percent of his players showing up, that amounted to just 14 of the meager 22 on his roster.

But Eddy knew it was coming though, even with three players contacting Eddy Friday with excuses why they wouldn’t be there for day 1, since the “(BACF) coaches only nominated that many,” he said.

Eddy, however, at least has almost enough players — with a kicker only on his squad — to put an offense against a defense in practice.

“So from that standpoint, it creates an extra challenge for us,” said Eddy. “But we’re only sitting at about half the roster (of 40) that’s available to us, which makes everything else just a little bit unique and more interesting.”

Nevertheless, Eddy was forging ahead Friday getting acclimated to his small band of players.

“Most of them up to this point are just names on a piece of paper with heights and weights,” said Eddy. “So you really don’t know much about them. But we were evaluating them today and will be finding out what else they can do in the next week, and yet always want to try to have a little fun with this game too.”

Still, added Eddy, “we know that the guys who are here really commit, buy in and want to be here to participate in this event and get an opportunity to play this game of football at least one more time.”

The 23rd annual BACF (Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis) Football Classic, which West Virginia leads by a 15-8 margin, will kick off at 7 p.m.. Tickets are $5 at the gates.

All proceeds generated from the game are donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation into research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, a debilitating disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems.