South’s Tanner pleased with early returns

Good numbers for Patriots’ new grid boss

PARKERSBURG — A little more than a month into his tenure as the new Parkersburg South head football coach, Nathan Tanner is quite pleased with the direction of the program.

“It’s been great,” Tanner said. “The past three weeks I haven’t been able to be at home as much as I like because I’ve had to put the staff together and that required some extra hours. Just the first 30 days in the job you got to do some things out of the ordinary that you wouldn’t typically do as far as just meeting people and developing relationships.

“The community has been really good to us and just teaching at the school has been really pleasant. It’s fun to go to work every day and on top of that we’ve got kids showing up at 6 a.m. to work out and they are busting their tail. It’s been a lot of fun.”

When asked if the transition to his new job had been easy Tanner replied, “I wouldn’t say easy is the word, but it’s been smooth. When I say smooth, it’s been really enjoyable.”

The gridiron boss said in his first week they probably “had 30 to 35 kids and from there it’s kind of grown by five (each week).

“We are probably up to 45 kids and hopefully this upcoming week it will be 50. A goal we have as a staff is to get three to five kids a week.”

Although the Patriots’ coaching staff isn’t 100 percent “official” as of yet, Tanner said he has it completed pending board approval along with the fact some of them still need to take the West Virginia coaches course.

Three of his assistants — Matt Shamblin, Garett Foggin and Cody Miller — will be awaiting approval on Tuesday night at the Wood County Board of Education meeting.

Tanner said he will call the offense, but the defensive coordinator job will go to Evan Campbell, who was on Marietta High School’s staff last year along with Matt Cooper. Those five along with Nick Reed, Zach Walls, Brian Youngblood and John Price will comprise the rest of the coaching staff. Joel Crawford, who according to the coach “does a lot of things behind the scenes,” has been tasked as the director of football operations.

“I got a complete staff put together,” Tanner noted. “It’s going good. I mean there are guys on staff that are southside community guys that know a lot of these families and know some of the kids. Cody Miller, he coached at Edison Middle School, and he’s coached a lot of the kids who go to the high school. John Price is a wrestling coach.

“That’s kind of created a bridge between the football and the wrestling program. Garett Foggin is a basketball coach and we’ve kind of built a bridge between basketball and football. We are trying to get some basketball kids out who have not played previously.”

Another area the Patriot coaching staff has stressed is leadership and they created a council comprised of both upper and lowerclassmen.

“They had to submit packets, a letter of intent, a resume and two letters of recommendation. One from a teammate and one from someone outside of the football program,” Tanner explained.

“We had 17 kids who submitted them and we interviewed all 17 kids last week.”

With plenty of work left to do before the Patriots open their season at 7:30 p.m. Aug 30 in Death Valley against the host Ripley Vikings, coach Tanner is anxious for the three-week summer period to get here.

“We’re pumped about that,” said the coach. “We planned out the three-week period in June and we’ll probably use our flex days in July.

“I had given some thought about doing flex days in May, but we have a lot of kids who are doing track and baseball and I didn’t want to interfere with that.”