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Back on the gridiron

July 31, 2012
By Edgar Kelley - Sports Editor ( , The Inter-Mountain

High school football teams throughout West Virginia kicked off preseason practice Monday, with the regular season set to being in less than four weeks.

One area squad will be looking to build off a highly successful 2011 campaign, while all the others are hoping to turn things around this season.

Elkins, who made the Class AAA playoffs last season and finished with an 8-2 mark, had 27 varsity players report on the opening day of drills.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Andrew Davis
Elkins High School football coach Greg Hott, left, watches over drills Monday on the opening day of practice at Wimer Stadium. The Tigers open the season Aug. 24 at Oak Hill.

"I'm happy with the nucleus of kids we have out," Hott said. "But I was a little disappointed with the number of players we had on the first day. We're expecting several more kids to get out here later in the week, though."

Elkins will open the season at Oak Hill on Aug. 24.

Also in Class AAA, Lewis County is looking to improve on last season's 4-6 mark. Coach Eddie Vincent's team reported the highest turnout in the area with 53 players taking to the field on Monday.

"It was a productive day and it's nice to have as many kids as we had out," Vincent said. "I was real pleased with how things went on the first day."

The Minutemen will travel to University for their opener on Aug. 24.

The area's only other Class AAA team, Buckhannon-Upshur, had 42 players suit up on Monday. The Bucs posted a 2-8 record last season.

"We're up about five players from last season," Buckhannon-Upshur coach Bill Struble said. "The kids came in with great attitudes and they were excited to get started."

Buckhannon-Upshur will visit Bridgeport on Aug. 24 to kickoff the season.

In Class AA, Philip Barbour started preseason drills with 45 players. The Colts are coming off a 4-6 record last year.

"We got some players out this year that wasn't with us last season," Philip Barbour coach Curtis Bodkins said. "And some of those kids are capable of playing some positions we are a little thin at."

Philip Barbour will entertain Grafton for its opener on Aug. 24.

In Class A, Tucker County had 35 players report on Monday, while Tygarts Valley sent 28 gridders onto the field.

The Mountain Lions, who finished 5-5 and just missed the playoffs a year ago, return a strong crop of players in 2012.

"We have a lot of experience back from last year," Tucker County coach A.J. Rapp said. "It was nice to come in and not have to go over a lot of stuff, because most of the kids already know what we're doing."

Tucker County will host rival Pocahontas County on Aug. 24.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, will be under the direction of first-year coach Joseph Arbogast. Tygarts Valley finished 1-9 last season.

"I was pleased with how things went on the first day," Arbogast said. "I see some bright spots for us going into the season."

Tygarts Valley will travel to Pendleton County for its opener on Aug. 24.



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