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Parkersburg Catholic football will not have a season in 2021

PARKERSBURG — Patience is a virtue, and it’s also the name of the game for the Parkersburg Catholic football program.

The Crusader footballers will not be hitting the gridiron in 2021 (the program’s second-straight year not fielding a team), but new head coach Larry Thompson does look to build the program up. It’s a tall task, but a collaborative effort with everyone involved is what Thompson believes will get the job done. An increase in numbers is needed, and Thompson is willing to do what he can to get the Columbia blue back on the football field

“When I spoke with the administration before I accepted the job, I knew what I was walking into,” Thompson said of when he took the gig a couple months ago. “Obviously, the enrollment was down, due to COVID. Parents didn’t want to pay for ‘virtual school’. That makes a lot of sense, but with that being said, it was an opportunity for me to move closer to home. We live in West Virginia, and we’re glad to be back.

“We’ve just got to be patient and work with the kids we have. We’ll go from there.”

Every sustainable high school program is built up at the middle school ranks. That’s no exception for Thompson and company, as a robust pool of middle school talent is how he wants to grow the program for years to come. The belief in PCHS football and what it can one day accomplish gives him hope for the future. For some, the idea of taking a bare bones program would be too much, but Thompson was sold on the rebuild. The lack of a youth program gives him the chance to take this clean slate and do what he wants with it.

“There are a lot of younger kids, and once we have enough, well have enough to field a team. With that being said, the goal is to try and build a middle school program,” he said. “I held a camp last week and had about 12-14 boys show up consistently. I’m just going to reach out to parents, and I know it’s hard in the summertime. I’m a new hire, a new teacher there. I didn’t even get a chance to even go to the school and build a relationship before school let out for summer vacation. We’re in the weight room every day opening it up for all sports. We’re encouraging all the kids to come out this summer. I help the basketball coach (Daniel Collie) out during the weekends, every so often. It’s about building those relationships and motivating kids to lift some weight and eventually go strap it on and play.”

In regard to the community, Thompson said the administration, parents, players and supporters alike are onboard with his vision. He added the idea of hosting more games behind the high school is an ultimate goal for his Crusaders. However, there are still upperclassmen who want the opportunity to play. That’s why Thompson is looking for other small teams to play in 8-on-8 competition, so seniors get a final chance to play the game they love at the high-school level.

“I’m still going to try and stretch to get some 8-man games in. Hopefully, there are some programs out there that may want to play some games, so that way my kids, especially the couple seniors I have, can go out there one last time,” Thompson said. “I’m not saying it’s a definite, but we’ll make one last push for it, once school starts. I can see them every day face-to-face and kind of go from there.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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