Russ Parsons Defensive Player Award - ............................................Max Chefren
Ross McHenry Scholar Award - Dan Fox
Ed Forshey Big Red Award - ...........................................Chase Shank
Mason Roberts Heart Award - ...........................................Josh Trembly
Tom Brock Special Teams Award - ..............................................Josh Roney
Buddy James Lineman Award - ........................................Charley Conley
Fred Earley Running Back Award - ........................................Corey Burdette
2015 Big Red Football Season Just Days Away
The first day of the 2015 football season is just three days away.
Monday, Aug. 3 will mark the beginning of practice for the Big Reds as they try to improve on last year's 6-5 playoff season.
The annual PHS Football Ice Cream Social will be held Friday, Aug. 7 at Stadium Field. Fall sports pictures will be taken that morning. Scrimmage dates for the Big Reds will be at Winfield at 10 a.m. on Aug. 15 and the MSAC Grid-O-Rama on Friday, Aug. 21, at 5:30 p.m. against South Charleston.
There has been a schedule change from those originally released with the moving of the St. Albans game from the second week of the season (Sept. 4) to the seventh week. The home game with the Red Dragons will now be played Oct. 9 with the Sept. 4 date now being an open spot on the schedule.
Joining the Big Red staff under the direction of Don Reeves is former Parkersburg South head coach Jon Bolen, former Ritchie County head coach Mike Dawson and former Hamilton Middle School coach Mike Kupfner. Also on hand will be Dave Manzo, Zach Nolan, Travis Bunner, Dan Lott, Rick Marshall, Richard Falrey and Paul Sparks.
Also, the 2015 season will be the 100th anniversary of PHS adopting the Big Reds as their official mascot nickname.
PHS will still open with a home game against George Washington before traveling to Huntington for the second year in a row and then playing four straight home games against Capital, Marietta, Beckley and St. Albans.
The team will then travel to Ripley and Warren. They wind up the regular season with games at Cabell Midland and Parkersburg South. The Cabell Midland game is scheduled on Thursday and is the first time since 2006 for a Thursday game. That year PHS played George Washington in the Kickoff Classic at Charleston's Laidley Field. The Big Reds used to make an annual event of playing Marietta on Thanksgiving Day.
St. Albans and Ripley replace Riverside and South Charleston from this year's schedule.
All games start at 7:30 p.m.
2015 PHS Football Schedule
Aug. 28 - George Washington (State Championship Team Night)
Oct. 9 - St. Albans (Senior Night & Military Appreciation Night)
Oct. 16 - at Ripley
Oct. 23 - at Warren
Oct. 29 (Thursday) - at Cabell Midland
Nov. 6 - at Parkersburg South
PHS Returns To 7th Place In All-Time Win Rankings
The Parkersburg High School football team has returned to seventh place in the official national high school all-time win rankings.
The six victories earned by the 2014 team pushed the PHS all-time record to 805 victories and moved the locals back into a seventh place tie on the all-time list with the Canton McKinley (Ohio) Bulldogs, who won just three games last season. The official rankings are published by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
PHS which will be celebrating the 100th year of Big Reds football this year, is 86 victories behind all-time leader Valdosta, which nipped the city of Parkersburg in the ESPN "Titletown" competition a few years ago. In 1915 the Parkersburg High School football team adopted the nickname Big Reds for the first time.
All-Time High School Football Wins
Valdosta Wildcats (GA)
Highlands Bluebirds, Ft. Thomas (KY)
Male Bulldogs, Louisville (KY)
Washington Tigers, Massillon (OH)
Mayfield Cardinals (KY)
Mount Carmel Red Tornadoes, (PA)
Parkersburg Big Reds (WV)
McKinley Bulldogs, Canton (OH)
Easton Red Rovers (PA)
Muskegon Big Reds (MI)
Summerville Green Wave (SC)
Everett Crimson Tide (MA)
Berwick Bulldogs (PA)
Highland Park Scots, Dallas (TX)
Central Tigers, Little Rock (AR)
East St. Louis Flyers (IL)
Brockton Boxers (MA)
Hampton Crabbers (VA)
Ada Cougars (OK)
Lawton Wolverines (OK)
Clinton Red Tornadoes (OK)
Dobyns-Bennett Indians, Kingsport (TN)
Steubenville Big Red (OH)
Pine Bluff Zebras (AR)
Bakersfield Drillers (CA)
Paducah Tilghman Blue Tornado (KY)
New Britain Golden Hurricanes(CT)
Sioux Falls Washington Warriors (SD)
Chefren Makes First Team All-State, All-MSAC
5 Other Big Reds Get Post-Season Honors
Max Chefren, senior defensive end, has been named to the first team defense for the 2014 All-State and All-Mountain State Athletic Conference football teams.
The all-state team, selected by the sportswriters, saw the 6-foot-2, 200 pound PHS senior named to the first unit.
Two other Big Reds were mentioned on the all-state list as senior Corey Burdette was named special honorable mention and senior Dan Fox was named honorable mention.
Chefren was joined on the All-MSAC honor squad by five other players, two second team selections, one special honorable mention and two honorable mention.
While Chefren was the only Big Red to be named to the first All-MSAC team, Burdette was selected as a second team running back and sophomore Ben McFarland was named as a second team offensive lineman. Fox was named to the special mention list while seniors Chase Shank and Charley Conley were named honorable mention.
Chefren had an incredible season on defense for PHS, leading the team with 107 tackles, 53 of them solo. He had an amazing 35 tackles for loss and 11 quarterback sacks. He also recovered two fumbles (one he returned 22 yards for a touchdown) and forced three more fumbles while even returning three short kickoffs for 68 yards (one for 41 yards).
Burdette led the team in scoring with 13 touchdowns, 11 rushing and two receiving. He paced the Big Reds with 700 yards rushing on 181 carries in 10 games while catching six passes for 66 yards.
McFarland, a two-year regular already on the line, was the key blocker all year as PHS averaged 29 points and 284.5 yards per game on offense. He also played defensive end and had 21 tackles.
Fox led the team in all-purpose yards with 854 and scored six touchdowns while passing for another. He caught 8 passes for a 22.1 average and three TD's while leading the team in interceptions with three and averaging 22.5 yards on 11 kick returns. He had a 9.9 yards per carry rushing average with 417 yards on 42 attempts.
Shank scored six touchdowns, had 360 rushing yards, three fumble recoveries and was second on the team in tackles with 90. Conley anchored the center of both lines, playing center on offense and nose guard on defense.
Dan Fox ...............Chase Shank.........Charley Conley
Capital won the conference championship this season and beat another MSAC team, South Charleston, for the Class AAA state championship. Capital's Jon Carpenter was named Coach of the Year and South Charleston junior quarterback Kentre Grier was named Player of the Year.
2014 Season In Review; Looking Ahead at 2015
A winning season against a schedule which included seven playoff opponents was highlighted by a strong finish for the 2014 Big Red football team.
PHS needed three wins in its final three games to qualify for the playoffs and did just that with an overtime victory over perennial power George Washington on the Patriots’ home field, then a rout against Riverside and a last-play triumph over arch-rival Parkersburg South.
Those three wins put the Big Reds in the playoffs with a 6-4 record and if not for a canceled game between Capital and Beckley Woodrow Wilson, PHS would have finished 14th instead of 15th in the final ratings and would have played University in the first round instead of a rematch against second-ranked Cabell Midland (a team PHS had lost to 42-21 during the regular season).
But that did not deter the Big Reds from coming within an eyelash of upsetting the Knights, losing by a 45-42 margin thanks to kickoff return touchdowns by the home team.
As usual the Big Reds played a rugged schedule. Their five defeats came against teams which won 48 of 55 games going into the playoff second round. Those teams were all ranked in the top eight in the final Class AAA ratings – Capital was first, Cabell Midland second, South Charleston sixth and Huntington seventh. Capital and South Charleston eventually advanced to the finals with Huntington reaching the semifinals.
PHS beat two playoff teams in Beckley and Parkersburg South. Overall, going into the playoff quarterfinals, PHS opponents had a 69-47 record and that included Riverside’s first ever winless campaign and a 1-9 mark compiled by Warren.
The Big Reds outscored their opponents 319-309 despite facing five of the highest scoring teams in the state. They also enjoyed a 29-16 advantage in turnovers, forcing 15 interceptions and recovering 14 fumbles. Seven times PHS scored on those turnovers.
Graduation will take a heavy toll on the Big Reds as they look ahead to the 2015 season – the 100th anniversary of the team adopting that nickname back in 1915.
The team will lose its top six scorers in Corey Burdette (13 touchdowns), Josh Roney (33 extra points and two field goals), Chase Shank (6 touchdowns and one conversion), Dan Fox (6 touchdowns), Austin Life (5 touchdowns) and Josh Trembly (4 touchdowns).
Trembly was the quarterback who threw for 1,071 yards and 15 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He had 1,415 yards in total offense. His 300 yards passing against Midland in the playoffs was the third highest total in PHS history while his 15 touchdowns was the seventh highest total and his passing yards was the 15th best all-time.
The top four rushers will depart in Burdette (700 yards), Fox (417 yards with 9.9 per carry average), Shank (360 yards) and Trembly (344 yards) along with the two top receivers in Austin Life (16 catches for 425 yards, 26.6 average, 5 touchdowns) and Fox (8 catches for 177 yards and 3 scores).
Defensively, the top two tacklers graduate including all-state candidate Max Chefren. Chefren had 107 tackles from his end position, 35 of them behind the line of scrimmage for a minus 186 yards. He had 11 sacks and recovered two fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown). Shank was second on the team in tackles from his linebacker post with 90 stops and three fumble recoveries.
Gone from the offensive line will be Jon Null, Austin Brown, Charley Conley and Chris Carroll.
But there is some varsity talent returning, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The third, fourth and fifth leading tacklers will be back in halfback Nick Johnson (62 tackles), safety Ethan Airhart (60 tackles and 2 interceptions) and end Tyler Greathouse (52 tackles including 4 sacks). Also back for the prevent unit will be Noah Weaver, Ben McFarland, Zavian Peacock, Easton Martin, Austin Griffith, Terrance Tate and Tyler Lawrentz. Peacock, Martin and Tate all had a pair of interceptions.
Offensively, Airhart figures to get first crack at the quarterback position with Weaver and Peacock the leading rushers returning. Brannon Turner and Karson Snyder will be the top receivers back with Turner having caught six passes (one for a TD) and Snyder catching two scoring passes in the playoff game.
On the offensive line, McFarland will return for his third year as a starter and will be joined by Isaac Edman.
The PHS junior varsity finished with a rare undefeated season, going 7-0 and having games against varsity defeated opponents Marietta, Beckley and Parkersburg South canceled.
The jayvees outscored the opposition 161-35 and did not allow a single team to score more than one touchdown. Sophomore Snyder was converted from wide receiver to quarterback and all he did was pass for 776 yards 40 of 61 with two interceptions) and eight touchdowns in seven games while rushing for seven touchdowns and gaining 437 yards on 81 carries himself. Rylan Hamilton and Martin each caught three touchdown passes and and Zach Blosser a pair.
The PHS freshmen team appeared headed for an excellent season when injuries took their toll after five games but the ninth graders still compiled a 3-3-1 record (losing twice to Wheeling Park, once to Spring Valley and tying Cabell Midland). Seth Dailey threw six touchdown passes before being injured with Nathaniel Steed catching five before becoming the quarterback himself and throwing one TD. Tyee Gibson ran for two touchdowns and caught two TD passes while Zion Atkinson ran for two scores for the frosh.
Big Reds Come Up 3 Points Shy In Bid to Upset Midland, 45-42
ONA - Were it not for two kickoff return touchdowns by the same player, Parkersburg's Big Reds would have pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in school history and definitely the biggest upset of the Class AAA high school football playoffs.
As it was the 15th ranked Big Reds nearly gained revenge for a regular season lop-sided loss and threw a giant scare into a team that was supposed to reach this year's state finals. The Knights were the second-ranked team in the state going into the first round of the playoffs.
In the end PHS came up three points short and suffered a 45-42 loss. Oddly enough, it was by the margin of a field goal that the Big Reds reached the playoffs (17-14 victory over Parkersburg South last week) and it was by the margin of a field goal that they were eliminated.
Showing incredible resilience and heart, the Big Reds overcame two kickoff return touchdowns by little-known Brady Elkins only to be unable to overcome a field goal with just over two minutes to play against the home-standing Knights, who had beaten PHS 42-21 back in the third week of the regular season.
Elkins returned the opening kickoff 66 yards for a touchdown and ran another back 65 yards in the middle of the second quarter while the Knights were putting on their usual potent running attack with 445 yards on the ground, 268 by Caperton Humphreys and 176 by Alex Childers.
But PHS was able to counter-punch with 300 yards passing and three touchdowns from Josh Trembly, who completed 12 of 19 passes with one interception. Included in that aerial attack was two TDs to jayvee quarterback/backup split end Karson Snyder, who was moved into the lineup due to the loss of two of PHS' regular receivers. Snyder caught only two passes but they were for touchdowns of 31 and 56 yards.
Dan Fox caught the other touchdown and also ran for a score while Austin Life was the leading receiver with 126 yards on four catches.
The Big Red passing game worked because Midland bunched all 11 defenders within a few yards of the line of scrimmage to stop the PHS run game and that worked well as the Big Reds were able to gain just 109 net yards on the ground although that did include minus 19 yards by Trembly.
Overall, Midland had 474 yards on 63 plays while PHS had 409 yards on 52 plays.
After the opening kick return TD by Midland, PHS was able to answer with 5:30 left in the first period when Snyder made a catch at the goal line with a Knight defender all over him.
A 51-yard run by Childers set up his five yard run with 4:12 on the clock to make it 14-7.
The Knights then put PHS in the hole with a punt to the Big Reds' nine yard line which was immediately followed by a five yard penalty. Josh Roney had to kick from his own three and Midland got the ball back just 31 yards from the end zone. In two plays Childers scored again to make it 21-7 with 11 minutes left in the first half.
But PHS responded with a 73 yard drive in just six plays to cut the lead to 21-14. A 36 yard pass to Brannon Turner set up a 23 yard scoring run by Fox with 8:21 on the second quarter clock.
The comeback momentum ended just 15 seconds later when another squib kickoff to gathered by Elkins, who did a rerun of his first score - but from one yard shorter. That touchdown made it 28-14 with 8:08 left before the half.
Again PHS responded, going 56 yards in just five plays with Corey Burdette covering the final five yards with 6:24 to play to again cut the margin to a touchdown at 28-21. The big play was a pass of 42 yards to Life.
With just 47 seconds remaining in the first half, Knight quarterback Coy Pettit scored from 16 yards away on a keeper to push the halftime lead to 35-21.
Midland looked like it was about to put the game on ice early in the second half when Humphreys broke away for a 55 yard touchdown run with just 1:46 gone in the third quarter. That made it 42-21 and Knight fans were starting to breath easier.
But there was no quit in the Big Reds as they answered in just six plays with Trembly hitting Fox from the 25 yard line after having connected on another bomb to Life for 33 yards. With 8:03 left in the quarter it was now 42-28.
Midland proceeded to use up 10 plays to go just 23 yards as they were hit with four penalties. The turned the ball over on downs at the Parkersburg 29 but the Big Reds suffered an interception at the Midland 20 late in the third period.
Again the Knights ate up clock time with 12 plays but again turned the ball over when Noah Weaver and Max Chefren stopped Childers for no gain on a fourth and one play at the 16 yard line.
Four plays later Chase Shank broke away for a 40 yard touchdown run to close the gap to 42-35 with 7:49 to play in what was now becoming a wild, wild west kind of shootout.
Leading by only a single score, Midland drove into the red zone again thanks to a 50 yard run by Childers but again the PHS defense rose up and held them at the three yard line, forcing Chris Heiner to come on and boot a 20 yard field goal with 5:36 still left to play which made it 45-35.
It did not take PHS long to answer that score however as Snyder got behind the Midland secondary again and hauled in a pass for a touchdown on a play that covered 56 yards and made it 45-42 with still 3:58 on the clock.
The Big Reds held the Knights to a three-and-out punt and got the ball back on their 29 with 2:06 remaining.
Three plays later PHS tried some trickery as Fox attempted a halfback pass but it was intercepted and Midland was able to run out the clock to preserve the victory.
The Big Reds went into the game without starting tackle Ben McFarland, who suffered a leg injury in practice this past week, and two of their regular receivers.
#15 Big Reds vs #2 Knights (Nov 15, 2014 at Ona, WV) Score by Quarters.... 1 2 3 4 Total
Parkersburg Big Reds (6-5) 7 14 7 14 - 42
Cabell Midland Knights (10-1) 14 21 7 3 - 45
Qtr Time Scoring play
1st 11:49 MIDLAND - Brady Elkins 66 yd kickoff return (Chris Heiner kick)
05:30 PHS - Karson Snyder 31 yd pass from Josh Trembly (Josh Roney kick), 5-52 2:21
04:12 MIDLAND - Alex Childers 5 yd run (Chris Heiner kick), 5-31 0:11
2nd 11:00 MIDLAND - Alex Childers 3 yd run (Chris Heiner kick), 2-31 0:17
08:21 PHS - Dan Fox 23 yd run (Josh Roney kick), 6-73 2:32
08:08 MIDLAND - Brady Elkins 65 yd kickoff return (Chris Heiner kick)
06:24 PHS - Corey Burdette 5 yd run (Josh Roney kick), 5-56 1:43
00:47 MIDLAND - Coy Pettit 16 yd run (Chris Heiner kick), 6-42 2:00
3rd 10:14 MIDLAND - Caperton Humphreys 55 yd run (Chris Heiner kick), 1-55 0:10
08:03 PHS - Dan Fox 25 yd pass from Josh Trembly (Josh Roney kick), 6-65 2:10
4th 07:49 PHS - Chase Shank 40 yd run (Josh Roney kick), 3-84 1:20
05:36 MIDLAND - Chris Heiner 20 yd field goal, 6-62 2:13
03:58 PHS - Karson Snyder 56 yd pass from Josh Trembly (Josh Roney kick), 4-70 1:35
Commemorative t-shirts and bracelets are available and donations can now be made online here at the football web site by clicking on the PayPal icon under the t-shirt photograph on the left side of the page. Online contributions will be added to the sponor lists if the amount is sufficient.Contributors are reminded that tax deductible checks will be accepted. They should be made out to PHS Stadium Committee.
Sponsors are being sought with 10 levels of donations - Seat Named $200, Bronze $500, Silver $1,000, Gold $2,000 and Platinum $2,500, Team Captain $5,000, Reserved Seat Row $10,000, White $15,000, Team Spirit $20,000, PHS Big Red $50,000. Sponsors will have three years to honor their pledges. Sponsors meeting any of the pledge levels will be listed on a plaque to displayed prominently in the Stadium.
Donations from fans and alumni who are proud of Stadium Field and its storied 93 year history may also be sent to Parkersburg High School in care of Charlotte Potter, Stadium Field Committee, 2101 Dudley Avenue, Parkersburg, WV 26101.
The home side finished product!
History of Stadium Field
In the spring of 1923 a group of men got together to form a stadium committee whose sole intent was to build a stadium for the newly constructed Parkersburg High School.
Those men included John S. Echols, President of the Board of Education, C.M. Martin, Sherman Dils, J.H. Biddle, C.T. Hitshaw, Herbert Smith, John Randolph, and Paul L. Summers. The committee was incorporated on July 14, 1923 and became known as the Parkersburg High School Corporation. The process of forming a corporation was necessary because the bonded indebtedness of the Board of Education was then at the peak permitted by law. Also serving on this committee was Fayette Smoot, H.L. Martin, Edward Doesch, H.R. Debussey and W.O. Holiday. The corporation leased the back campus from the Board of Education. It was impossible, according to the law of the time, for such a corporation to build any structure on land owned by a board of education. Therefore, the board had to turn over the land known as Stadium Field, on a 99-year lease to this corporation. The bonds were then released. The money for the bonds was to be recovered through football games and other activities held at the stadium.
The stadium was the first of its kind (concrete) in West Virginia and must have been the first of its kind to be built for the use of tax-supported institution without the investment of a single tax dollar.
The plans were to build one side of the stadium in 1923 and to build the other side the following year. The end of the U-shaped stadium was to be completed in the third year. When finally, completed it was to seat about 13,000 people. The end or bowl section of the stadium was never completed according to plans. The total cost of construction for the two sides was $104,000.
In just one day after the meeting in which the stadium plan was revealed, a total of $33,000 worth of bonds was sold.
In September of 1923 the first concrete was poured for the West stands of the stadium and on Oct. 4, 1923, the first game in the new stadium was played between the Big Reds of Parkersburg High School and Athens, Ohio. The Big Reds won by a 14-13 score. Ticket prices were 25 cents for student seating, 15 cents for student standing room. For the general public, the price was season ticket was $5 for seats and $4 for standing room.
In 1925 the stadium was officially dedicated. As part of the dedication, a race from Parkersburg to Marietta was held.
The installation of the stadium lights during the fall of 1940 made it possible for football games to be played at night. Until that time, most games were played on Saturday afternoon. The lights were installed by the Parkersburg Junior Chamber of Commerce at a cost of $7,000.75. The electric bill for the use of the lights was $3.25 per hour or about $10 for each game.
The lights were put in for the dual purpose of protecting the health of the players from the intense heat and to increase attendance. Among other reasons cited for the lighting was so that persons who worked Saturday afternoon could see the Big Reds play and so that the Stadium could be used for the purpose of holding other outdoor events such as political rallies or church events. Businessmen also felt that by playing Friday night games, Saturday afternoon business would be bolstered.
The first night game at PHS Stadium was Sept. 6, 1940 with the Big Reds beating Grantsville 50-0.
During the 1984-85 football season part of the stadium stands were closed for safety reasons. On June 13, 1988 it was recommended that both sides of the stands be closed. On June 14 the Board of Education accepted that recommendation.
During the summer of 1988 temporary bleachers were purchased and put up. Remodeling was done with funding help from C.O. Erickson and began in 1992. It was totally completed in 1994 with structural steel and concrete used to repair the stands.
In 1995 PHS qualified for home playoff games. After beating North Marion in the first round, the Big Reds were scheduled to host Wheeling Park. The Patriots protested the playing conditions at Stadium Field (no grass and nothing but mud) and a state inspection committee upheld the protest – moving the game to Tyler Consolidated High School. PHS won that game 28-7 and got to host the semifinal game after much work was done to repair the turf. But Hedgesville won the game 18-0 and the drive to install artificial turf on Stadium Field began in earnest.
The Stadium Renovation committee had its first planning session on Jan. 4, 1996 with more than two dozen members. In almost no time there were plans for an artificial surface to be added to the football field along with an 8-lane Eurotan track surface, new sidewalks, asphalt parking lot and refurbished concession stands.
On Aug. 30, 1996 the first game was played on AstroTurf Xl surface between Parkersburg South and Wheeling Park. On Sept. 6 the Big Reds played host to Hurricane on the new turf.
The cost of the new surface and renovations came to $1.25 million dollars which included $400,000 worth of in-kind services, $400,000 for advertising signs, $250,000 in donations and five bank loans of $400,000.
New light standards were installed in 1998. In 1999 new locker rooms were built in the Mary Lou Hague Memorial Sports and Arts complex at a cost of $536,390. In 2005 the restoration of the concrete stands was done at a cost of $129,356. In 2006 the turf was replaced at a cost of $295,000 with ProGrass artificial surface. In 2009 a new concession stand and restrooms were built on the home side at a cost of $195,000. The track was resurfaced in 2010 at a cost of $75,000 and in 2012 handrails were installed at a cost of $68,090.
In 2013 the home side bleachers were replaced in time for the second home game of the season. New seats were also installed with backs for the reserved seat section. The visiting bleachers still need to be replaced and contributions are still being taken.