BACF football game undergoes changes

St. Marys AD takes reins; game’s new home: St. Marys

PARKERSBURG — The BACF All-Star Football Classic, which has gone back and forth between West Virginia and Ohio venues almost each year of its existence, now will be played starting this June at St. Marys High School’s Bill Hanlin Stadium in a more permanent site for the game for the immediate future.

The 2018 Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis Ohio vs. West Virginia gridiron contest, which is its 25th annual game this year, will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, June 15 at St. Marys with Parkersburg head coach Mike Byus and River head coach Mike Flannery leading the two squads of high school senior football players.

In all, the BACF football game since its inception in 1994 has seen 13 games played in West Virginia and 11 in Ohio, mostly at PHS Stadium Field 11 times and more recently on the Ohio side at Marietta College’s Don Drumm Stadium, which has hosted it on five occasions.

Also, St. Marys athletic director and head football coach Jodi Mote has taken over the BACF football reins as game director from former Parkersburg Catholic athletic director Danny Tennant, who retired after his time in charge of all things BACF football right from the beginning.

“Danny asked me about taking over and when I did, I thought we ought to look into making it sort of like what they do for the players in the (West Virginia) North-South game in Charleston,” said Mote, who liked what he saw when he himself was the North head coach a few years ago.

“We want to make it more of a camp for the boys,” said Mote, who noted that both head coaches “will have practices before they come in here (St. Marys) for camp on the 12th (of June).”

Mote has worked with Ohio Valley University in Vienna — and the Scots’ assistant athletic director Bob Crawford — to house and possibly feed the players Tuesday, June 12 and Wednesday, June 13 before they go home Thursday evening for a good night’s sleep before returning to St. Marys to prepare for the game Friday night.

Of course, that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the players will practice at St. Marys and elsewhere nearby, be fed by various donors and enjoy a variety of team-oriented activities each evening, like a movie, pool party or bowling among other things.

Mote too is also checking into bands and cheerleaders to perform at the game, with the PHS band a possiblity for the West Virginia side, as well as mid-week taking the head coaches and some players to hospitals in Parkersburg and Marietta to visit with hospitalized children.

For Mote, “it’s been unbelievable the support for BACF that we’ve gotten anywhere we’ve gone as representatives for the game.”

In addition, the game will have new $5 programs with pictures of all the players that ads were sold for, and Mote expects to have air inflatables for kids to play in for a donation in the end of the football field where the shot put and discus track events are held.

And although Mote does admits that “when we get through a year of doing this, it’ll be a lot better after that,” he also reminded everyone that “the BACF cause is more important” — raising money for research into finding a cure for the respiratory and digestive disease that cystic fibrosis is.