Conference Snapshot: West Virginia

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It may be hard to believe, but another season of high school football is right around the corner. With practices starting, Gridiron Glory is going to take you around the viewing area for a series of "Conference Snapshots." Today's installment features teams from West Virginia.

Parkersburg Big Reds: By Seth Austin

In their third season under head coach Don Reeves, the Parkersburg Big Reds want to build off of two straight six-win seasons. The Big Reds are also hoping this is the year they can make it past the pesky first round of the playoffs.

New faces will power the Big Reds for the most part both offensively and defensively in 2012. The bright spot for Coach Reeves’ offense will be the return of running back Adam Lindamood for his senior season. Last year, Lindamood led Parkersburg in rushing and scoring piling up 943 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in 2011.

The Big Reds passing game will have a new look with Matt Santer leading the charge at quarterback in Coach Reeves’ spread offense. Unfortunately for Parkersburg, they lose Jeremy Bell to graduation, taking away their leading receiver and removing a 6’5” target for Santer. Adrian Webster and Skyler Terrell will look to be the ones making plays for the Big Reds offensively in 2012.

On the defensive side of the ball, Parkersburg will have the challenge of replacing their top four leading tacklers. Santer, Terrell and Tre Jackson will look to be experienced leaders for the Big Red defense.

The Big Reds open up their season on August 24 when they leave home to take on Brooke. 

Parkersburg South Patriots: By Ian McConville

Coach Jon Bolen and his staff are hard at work preparing the Parkersburg South Patriots for their upcoming season. After a 6-4 campaign last year, South will look to contend for an OVAC 5-A championship and a state playoff berth.

The Patriots are led by quarterback Tyler Bolen, a three-year starter at quarterback that gives South some much needed consistency.

“Tyler has shown tremendous growth and leadership this offseason,” Coach Bolen said.

Bolen will be the most crucial part of making South’s offense click. If he is able to make smart, accurate throws consistently, the Patriots will have a great chance to turn some heads and make a deep postseason run. If he plays poorly, it could be a long season for the Patriots.

South will also look to workhorse Logan Cox to guide them through the year. Cox, who stands at 6’ 3” tall, will factor into many of the offensive and defensive schemes the Patriots will run. Another standout will be Braxton Johnson, who Bolen called a “great athlete.”

Bolen also mentioned the name of running back Jordan Quiocho. A quick, elusive runner, Quiocho’s performance will be critical to allowing the Patriots to create a balanced offensive attack.

The Patriots open their season on August 24 at home against Ripley. They also have early season showdowns against defending OVAC champion Morgantown, Musselman and University. And, of course, the ever-important crosstown rivalry with Parkersburg takes place on October 5.

However, Bolen is keeping his team focused on the task at hand.

“The most important game is the next one, and right now, that’s Ripley,” said Bolen.

Williamstown Yellow Jackets: By Avery Jennings

After a disappointing end to last season’s successful campaign, Williamstown looks to establish itself as a contender in West Virginia’s Class A again this season. The Yellow Jackets were 13-1 in 2011, with their only loss coming in the Class A State Championship Game. However, with only nine total starters returning, improving last season’s results will be an uphill climb.

Head coach Terry Smith enters this season with only four starters returning from an offensive unit that ran the ball effectively and averaged over 37 points per game last year. Much of Williamstown’s offensive success this time around will depend on junior quarterback Jake Tracewell.

 “He is a year older, he’s thrown on about 15 pounds, and he’s just an outstanding individual,” Smith said.

On defense, leading tackler and first team All-State linebacker Aaron Jones is gone, and Smith recognizes that this is a potentially difficult obstacle for his team to overcome. “He did a lot,” said Smith. “It is going to be hard for us to replace him.”

While the road back to state title contention will be tough, the Yellow Jackets can look to last season as a reminder that it’s possible to lose key players and still have an outstanding year.

In August of 2011, Tracewell and King replaced a quarterback-running back combination from 2010 that had graduated, and the talented tandem led Williamstown to its best season since 2008.

Furthermore, Smith has been nothing less than stellar with the clipboard as Williamstown’s head coach. The Yellow Jackets have won at least nine games in each of the last eight seasons under Smith. 

Williamstown opens its 2012 campaign on August 24 on the road against Tyler.