Ritchie vs. Magnolia is new addition to grid slate

PARKERSBURG — Although no one knows what the future holds for prep football, gridiron teams are preparing to play.

With Mountain State programs losing their original week one contests, two schools have found some common ground.

Head coach Rick Haught’s Rebels of Ritchie County, which were set to play Tyler Consolidated in the opener and had the second week off, won’t be stuck playing nine games.

That’s because both the Rebels and the Magnolia Blue Eagles of head man Dave Chapman have agreed to square off come 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4 at Alumni Field, which will be the opener for both squads.

“It’s a good pick up for us. We both had a bye in week two,” said Chapman, whose team is hoping to restart its three-week period on Monday after the Blue Eagles were forced to take a two-week hiatus due to COVID-19 measures. “We didn’t actually lose a game. We plugged in a team which you are allowed to do.”

The Blue Eagles were set to open the campaign on Friday, Aug. 28 against Marietta High School.

“I don’t mind playing 10 games in 10 weeks,” Haught noted. “I just hope we get to play 10 games.

“I regret not playing Tyler because that’s close and that’s turned into a big opener for us.”

Haught is hoping for the best, obviously, and added “you got to plan like you are (going to have a full season). We’re still trying to work and gets kids together. I’m shocked the WVSSAC only kicked the season back one week and the (practice) schedule for two weeks.

“There’s very little practice time before you play your opening week. I’m surprised of that. They did let us use flex days. We’ll schedule those in and try to catch up with some of that stuff. I think it’s going to be hardest to get kids conditioned. Rural areas, we just can’t get some of our kids there until the season actually starts.”

Chapman realizes losing two weeks of the summer coaching period is far from ideal, but the Blue Eagles are ready to march forward.

“We’ll get one week. They wiped out two of our three weeks. That’s the health departments call,” Chapman added. “We’ll play 10 straight weeks so we’ll see.

That worked out good for both of us. It worked out real well. We got to get this thing going. We can’t keep getting shutdown.

“We got to get it going statewide. I know it’s going to be tough. I’m hoping like everybody else, get this started with no interruptions. There might be a bump or two along the way. We’ll do what we can. I probably speak for a lot of the coaches. We just want to get going man.”

That’s something Haught wholeheartedly agrees with.

Assuming the season does start at its newly scheduled time, the Rebels will be looking for their first win ever against Magnolia, which has a 3-0 all-time series advantage according to fourseasonsfootball.com.

“I’m tickled to death they agreed,” Haught said. “We’re excited to play Magnolia. The worst thing you want to do in this thing is be open in week one. I wasn’t really looking forward to a bye in week two. I’m glad that worked out.”

Like Haught, coach Chapman also plans to utilize his flex days.

“Hopefully I can use them to make up for time lost,” said the Blue Eagle boss. “Things are going pretty well. We had a good turnout for conditioning and a good attitude. The culture is good. It’s a new season. The kids are excited. We had pretty good participation and the numbers are good.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com


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