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West Virginia BACF team looking to snap 2-game skid

Photo by Josh Hughes Members of the West Virginia Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis All-Star Football Classic team huddle up around coach Lance Binegar during practice Wednesday.

PARKERSBURG –Teams comprised of some of the best football talent in West Virginia and Ohio are preparing for the 26th annual Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis All-Star Football Classic at 7 p.m. on Friday from Bill Hanlin Stadium in St. Marys.

For the West Virginia squad, they spent Wednesday afternoon practicing at Parkersburg Catholic High School. The roster, comprised of players from teams all around the area, boasts nearly two dozen players eager to play in this final game of their high school careers.

As the athletes took part in practice drills, the man in charge of those drills was Catholic head coach Lance Binegar. Following a year of growth within the Crusader football program, he was tapped to lead the West Virginia team.

“There was a mass email sent out to all the coaches, and they nominated certain players they thought would like to play,” Binegar said.

Binegar then called each nominated player and got them on board. The result was a mix and match of players from the Mountain State Athletic Conference and Little Kanawha Conference.

One team that doesn’t belong to either conference, Ripley, is sending three Vikings to play in this year’s contest. Josh Kay, RJ Evans and Andrew Dolin play one last time together, as Kay is getting snaps at quarterback, Evans is in the backfield at running back and Dolin is up front on the line. Evans, who rushed for almost 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns, reflected on his time on the gridiron at the high school level.

“There are lots and lots of memories,” he said. “One specific memory I’ll take is going to the second round of the playoffs.”

That quarterfinal loss to Musselman spelled the end of the road for Ripley, but those three get one last chance to shine. A couple guys from right here in Parkersburg step on the field for the final time as high school players. Binegar’s player Ty Sturm (who was 36 yards shy of 2,000 rushing yards in his senior season) and PHS’s Brandon Braham (LB) represent the city one more time, and Braham is taking some fond memories with him to Marietta College in the fall. Braham is playing his college ball there after a team-high five forced fumbles and finishing sixth on the team with 61 total tackles.

“Especially beating South (in 2018),” Braham said of one of his favorite games. “There’s when we beat Wheeling Park at the last second on that lateral, and then when we beat them in the playoffs.”

The offensive and defensive lines are ripe with talent, as Bailey Riddle led Doddridge County in tackles with 60. He will line up at guard and nose tackle. Bulldog teammate Max Cook joins him on both lines, as Cook led Doddridge with five sacks. Jordan Owens rounds out a triple threat on defense for the Bulldogs, as he finished second on the team with 88 tackles at linebacker. As a fullback, he finished with eight scores on the ground.

Isaac Snodgrass of St. Marys serves as both an offensive and defensive lineman. He’s joined by teammates Jacob Hoyt and Dakota Sampson, who will both be on offense and defense. Those three play one more time on their home field.

A pair of Ravenswood Red Devils make the trip, as all-time tackle leader Luke Jackson pairs up with Nick Williams on defense. As RHS’s all-time leading tackler, Jackson also led the Mid-Ohio Valley with seven forced fumbles and is a two-time first team all-state selection.

Tyler Consolidated’s Hunter Forrester checks in at running back and linebacker, and he is joined by center-linebacker hybrid teammate, Jake Rice.

Two more Ritchie County Rebels round out the offensive and defensive lines. The duo of Kendrick Cole and Alec Stanley both come into this contest with two forced fumbles. Cole’s numbers stand out even more with three fumble recoveries on the year.

Michael Shreves and Ryan Cross enter the game from Paden City, and they will suit up as Wildcats for the last time. The final player on this roster is Gabe Ray of Ritchie County. He will split time with Sturm at quarterback, as the wildcat formation will be reserved for Sturm. He will be under center as a duel threat. The Friday matchup not only is going to raise awareness to cystic fibrosis, it will determine the best of the best in area high school football.

West Virginia leads the all-time series 15-10, but is looking to snap a two-game losing streak to the Buckeye State.

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