Big Reds Open Season at St. Albans
The Big Red football team will hit the road Friday night to start the 2016 season against an old foe with a new coach who has a very familiar name when they meet the St. Albans Red Dragons.
Kickoff is set for 7 o’clock.
PHS starts its seventh season under coach Don Reeves and is in pretty good health as the campaign begins in earnest against long time Mountain State Athletic Conference rival St. Albans. St. Albans is starting the season with a new head coach in Scott Tinsley, a former St. Albans quarterback himself (just like coach Reeves is a former Big Red quarterback). Tinsley made a name for himself as the offensive coordinator at Nitro, where he won a state title in 1998 by a 69-52 score over Morgantown thanks to a quarterback named J.R. House.
It will be the 21st meeting between the two teams with PHS holding a 16-4 edge in the overall series. St. Albans has been on a down cycle for the last eight years. The last winning season for the Red Dragons came in 2007 when they went 12-2, losing to PHS in the state finals by a 22-15 score. Over the last six years St. Albans has had five 2-8 seasons and one 3-7 campaign.
During last year’s 2-8 season, the Red Dragons managed to beat Riverside and Nitro. One of their defeats was a 41-6 setback at Parkersburg High. In that game the Big Reds shot out to a 35-0 halftime advantage thanks to plays like a 78 yard punt return by Nick Johnson and a 77 yard run by Easton Martin. Bradley Craig threw touchdowns passes of 10 yards to Brenton Strange and 46 yards to Karson Snyder while also running for a touchdown. Martin had another TD run and gained 129 yards on just six carries.
Martin finished as the team’s leading rusher and receiver a year ago and had two strong scrimmage outings running the ball this year. Craig has given way to Ethan Airhart at quarterback while Strange and Snyder also return for the Big Reds. Defensively, Tyler Lawrentz looks like the anchor while D’Shawn Curry, Isaac Edman and Owen Webb head up the line.
St. Albans will try several players at quarterback although 6-foot-6 Dionte Patterson will probably start. Whoever is calling the snap count, look for him to throw the ball on two out of every three plays. Last year against PHS, St. Albans threw the ball just five times compared to 52 rushing attempts.
The Dragons have Jayson Barrett returning in the backfield, although not at the quarterback position he played a year ago. He is expected to get most of the carries when his team does run the ball.
St. Albans does have some talented linemen like 6-foot-3, 265 pound junior Will Anderson and 6-foot-5, 340 pound junior Phillip Wigfall. The defense for the home team will be led by senior Hamilton Fletcher (6-2, 215).
Fireworks Galore In Final PHS Scrimmage
CHARLESTON – It was a morning of big plays all the way around as Parkersburg’s Big Reds met the Black Eagles of South Charleston in their final pre-season scrimmage game as part of the Mountain State Athletic Conference Grid-O-Rama.
When the smoke had cleared from all the fireworks, PHS came out on top on the scoreboard by an overall score of 31-26. At the end of the first half, when the varsity squads met, South Charleston had the upper hand 20-10.
But the bottom line of the scrimmage was that there were seven touchdowns scored on plays of 37 yards or more. There were TD plays of 37, 57, 40, 70, 13, 84, 69 and 75 yards in addition to a 35 yard field goal by Christian Axman.
PHS amassed 400 yards in total offense while South Charleston had 337 total yards. Big Red sophomore Shane Miller ran for 205 yards on just 10 second half carries and scored on plays covering 84 and 69 yards. Karson Snyder scored on a 57 yard reception as he took a pass out of the backfield and tight-roped up the sidelines to the end zone. Tyler Moler had the other PHS touchdown with a 13 yard run while Easton Martin ran for 41 yards on nine attempts in the first half.
South Charleston struck mostly through the air although Penn State recruit Derek Pitts did run for 41 yards on six carries with a 40 yard TD jaunt. Pitts caught two passes for 73 yards, including a 70 yard TD as he got behind the PHS defense. The Black Eagles had 218 yards through the air on 11 of 16 but did suffer two interceptions.
While Tyler Lawrentz had by far the most tackles for PHS with 12, Jake Johnson and Rylan Hamilton had interceptions with Hamilton’s coming in the end zone at the end of the third quarter.
South Charleston was rated third in pre-season statewide newspaper poll.
First Scrimmage A Long, Hot One
SOUTH CHARLESTON - After a very long, very hot day the Parkersburg Big Red coaching staff should have found some good things in the first scrimmage of the 2016 football season.
The three-team affair started at 10 a.m. and did not end until nearly 1:30 with the temperature a blistering 98 degrees and a rising humidity. Host South Charleston was ranked third in a pre-season newspaper poll.
After Sissonville and South Charleston squared off in their 10-play portion of the scrimmage, PHS and South Charleston each ran 10 plays against each other and then the Big Reds and Sissonville did the same. Then the teams took turns playing and down-and-distance variation with a 25 minute running clock. After that the jayvee teams played 10 plays against each other.
During the 10-play portion against South Charleston, the Big Reds held a 7-0 scoreboard advantage although no score is kept in scrimmages. The PHS touchdown came on a 52 yard pass down the sideline from Ethan Airhart to Tyler Lawrentz with Christian Axman kicking the extra points. A fine defensive stop by the Big Reds came when they held the home team three times inside the five yard. Sophomore Shane Miller, a linebacker, led the way on defense along with Lawrentz, Brenton Strange and Wyatt Strobl (who all had sacks).
During the 25-minute portion against the Black Eagles, the Big Reds were outscored 8-7 as the hosts connected on a 46 yard touchdown pass and then added the conversion on a pass. The Big Reds scored on a 73-yard, seven-play drive with Easton Martin going the last five yards after picking up yardage gains of 17 and 25 yards on separate plays while Airhart hit Karson Snyder with a 12 yard pass and Rylan Hamilton with a 19 yard completion. Snyder had a fumble recovery and Strange a sack on defense.
So, overall, PHS had a 14-8 score advantage against South Charleston while Martin gained 91 yards on 14 rushing attempts in what would probably be considered a half of play. Airhart completed four of nine passes for 108 yards with Karson Snyder catching two for 37.
Against Sissonville, a good Class AA squad, the Big Reds sputtered offensively in the 10-play portion of the event as they were shut out while giving up one touchdown. In the first part of the scrimmage, PHS rushed for 32 yards on five plays and completed just one of six passes for seven yards and one interception.
In the 25-minute portion against Sissonville, the Big Reds did better with a 7-0 scoreboard advantage on a great 34 yard touchdown sprint by Martin but were just one of six in the air.
Overall against Sissonville, PHS had a 7-6 scoreboard edge while Martin finished with 57 yards on six rushes. Airhart completed just two of 12 for 20 yards with one interception. Meanwhile, on defense, Hamilton had an interception for PHS while Bradley Craig was the leading tackler.
In the jayvee matchups, PHS topped South Charleston 6-0 thanks to a 45 yard interception return for a touchdown by Miller. Against Sissonville, both teams scored one time with the Big Reds getting an 11 yard pass from Jake Johnson to Tyler Moler while Sissonville scored on an eight yard run after a pair of long pass plays.
Next Saturday at 10 a.m., South Charleston and PHS will square off in a two quarter scrimmage at Charleston’s Laidley Field.
Big Red Legend Rick Phillips Passes Away
From Parkersburg News & Sentinel
A gridiron standout at Parkersburg High School and the West Virginia University Mountaineers died on Wednesday.
Rick Phillips, an offensive lineman who played for the Mountaineers in the 1989 National Championship game, passed away in Cleveland. Phillips, 50, had fought a two-year battle with pancreatitis.
Buddy James, Phillips’ coach at Parkersburg High, said Phillips was the greatest football player he ever coached. James was appreciative he and Phillips kept in touch for all these years.
“He was the only football player I ever had that went to college and made All-American,” James said.
Phillips won the Hunt Award at Parkersburg High in 1983 before becoming a second-team All-American at West Virginia University.
“Rick Phillips was a tremendous young man and a great football player,” former WVU head coach Don Nehlen said. Phillips played for Nehlen during his collegiate career.
Phillips was city manager in St. Marys until his illness forced him to take leave. He was also an assistant coach in 199, 2001 and 2007 at Parkersburg High.
“He was a great man and a great friend to me and my family,” said Parkersburg Mayor Jimmy Colombo, who hired Phillips in the building and grounds department during his first term as mayor.
What To Expect From Big Reds
With the first on-field test looming ahead in a scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 13, at South Charleston High School, everyone is wondering what to expect from the 2016 version of the Parkersburg Big Red football team.
Coach Don Reeves enters his seventh season at the helm and returns approximately half his starting lineup from a year ago when the team finished 4-6 after getting off to a 0-4 start. The first three games a year ago came against playoff participants George Washington, Huntington and Capital. Among those first three setbacks was a 20-13 loss at Huntington. After those three games there was a heart-breaking 27-20 loss to ancient rival Marietta. The Big Reds proceeded to win four of their next six games with losses being to the regular season number one ranked Cabell Midland Knights and cross-town rival Parkersburg South.
Gone from the 2015 Big Red squad are top defenders Nick Johnson and Noah Weaver but returning are a lot of offensive weapons from a team which averaged 22.4 points per game and nearly 280 yards in total offense per game against a rugged schedule.
In fact, returning are the top two quarterbacks, three of the top four rushers and the top three receivers – a group of receivers which set a school record.
The receiving corps of current seniors Easton Martin and Karson Snyder as well as sophomore Brenton Strange accomplished something as underclassmen that no other trio had ever done before, amass 300 or more yards each receiving. The speedy 6-foot-2 Snyder had 374 yards on just 16 catches (23.4 average) and took six of those receptions into the end zone. The even faster Martin had 364 yards on 27 catches for one touchdown and Strange, a huge target at 6-foot-5 and only a sophomore, caught 24 passes for 312 yards and two scores.
The closest a trio had come to that feat was in 2004 when Connor Louden (807 yards), Cody Suek (297) and Eric McDougle (293) were the primary targets for Chance Litton as he set a school record for yards passing in a regular season of 2,075.
Throwing the ball to the record-setting trio this year will be the quarterback who started last year behind center, Ethan Airhart. Airhart was injured in the first game a year ago and came back to see limited action in the final two games. He completed five of nine passes for 79 yards and one touchdown a year ago.
He was replaced in the backfield by junior Bradley Craig, a scrambler who proceeded to throw for 1,199 yards (the fourth highest total among returning quarterbacks in the state this year) and 11 touchdowns. He completed 81 of 162 passes with 12 interceptions.
Craig was second on the team in yards gained rushing with 369 in 90 carries but also lost 185 yards in sacks. This year he is slated to start as a wingback where the Big Reds hope to take advantage of his speedy and quickness.
Martin was the leading rusher on the team a year ago with 542 net yards with an average of 8.6 yards per carry and he ran for five scores. Strange was the second leading rusher with 249 yards (4.5 average) and three scores.
Also on hand to carry the ball this year is 205 pound sophomore Shane Miller who scored nine touchdowns and had two 200 yard rushing games on a 5-1 freshman team. Last year’s frosh had three games cancelled but split with double-A state champ Bridgeport (winning at home 24-6 but losing on the road 6-0).
Anchoring the line this year will be senior D’Shawn Curry, a 255 pound returning starter. Also back will be Tyler Lawrentz, who has shifted from center to tight end, guard Davey McNemar, Max Turner and Isaac Edman.
Defensively, five players are back to made at least 40 tackles a year ago. Martin and Lawrentz lead the way after making 59 and 58 stops a year ago while Strange was close with 56 tackles and an interception. McNemar and Snyder had 43 and 40 tackles respectively.
The kicking game will be handled by Christian Axman, who tried two long field goals a year ago but missed both while making one of two extra point kicks. He will also handle the punting duties.
The schedule this year sees new opponents Hurricane and Riverside replacing George Washington and South Charleston. On the down side, nearby rivals Marietta and Warren Local have dropped to Class AA standards by the new WVSSAC rating scale.
2016 Football Schedule Revealed
The 2016 Parkersburg High School Big Red football schedule will see a couple of new faces with previous history and the disappearance of one old rival and one very close opponent.
The Big Reds have added Hurricane and Riverside to their slate while gone is long-time rival George Washington and I-77 rival Ripley.
Hurricane was last met on the gridiron in 2006 and the Big Reds have beaten the Redskins all four times they have met previously. Riverside returns after a one year absence and it will be the 21st meeting of the two teams.
PHS has played George Washington 22 times, including every year since 2005. Ripley goes off the schedule after a one-year agreement.
The season opener will be Aug. 26 at St. Albans, which recently hired Scott Tinsley, former Nitro mentor, as their head coach. Once gain the Big Reds will close their season against Parkersburg South, this time at Stadium Field and without Garrett Gilkeson, who was the starting quarterback for the Patriots for three straight years.
All games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
The complete PHS 2016 football schedule is as follows:
08/26 (A) St Albans
09/02 (A) Hurricane
09/09 (H) Capital
09/16 (H) Huntington
09/23 (A) Marietta, OH
09/30 (-) Open
10/07 (A) Woodrow Wilson
10/14 (H) Cabell Midland
10/21 (H) Vincent Warren Local, OH
10/28 (A) Riverside
11/04 (H) Parkersburg South
....Nick Johnson........Brenton Strange....... Easton Martin........ Issiah Gossett
Johnson, Strange, Martin, Gossett Earn Post-Season Honors for MSAC, All-State Teams
Two Parkersburg Big Reds , senior Nick Johnson and freshman Brenton Strange, have earned second team All-Mountain State Athletic Conference honors for the 2015 season.
Two other PHS players were picked as part of the team with junior Easton Martin making honorable mention and senior Issiah Gossett making special honorable mention.
Johnson was also selection special honorable mention all-state and Martin was named honorable mention all-state.
Devin Stapleton of Cabell Midland was MSAC Player of the Year and his coach, Luke Salmons (former Ravenswood and Marshall player) was named Coach of the Year.
The all-conference team was selected by the coaches.
Johnson was selected as a defensive back and that was fitting since he led the Big Reds in numerous defensive categories including most tackles (93) , solo tackles (51), tackles for loss (6), forced fumbles (4) and fumble recoveries (3). He also contributed with two interceptions.
Offensively, Johnson was a return threat with a punt and a kickoff return for a touchdown while averaging 18.4 yards on nine punts and just under 20 yards on 12 kickoffs.
Strange made the second team as a wide receiver where he caught 24 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing 55 times for 249 yards and three scores. On defense he had 56 tackles and an interception from his safety position.
Gossett had 44 tackles on defense from his line position, including leading the team with 10.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
Martin led the team with 906 all-purpose yards with 59 tackles and six passes broken up. He had 542 yards rushing (8.6 average) with five touchdowns on the ground and caught 27 passes for 364 yards and one score.
Brannon Turner, Nick Johnson, Issiah Gossett, Zach Blosser, Coach Reeves, Easton Martin, Tyler Greathouse, Noah Weaver
2015 Award Winners Announced at Banquet
The 2015 Parkersburg High School Big Red football banquet was held Sunday night at the Grande Pointe Conference Center in Vienna and head coach Don Reeves bid farewell to 19 seniors as well as passing out various awards.
Award winners were:
Carroll Jett Team Award – Noah Weaver
Russ Parsons Defensive Player Award – Issiah Gossett
Ross McHenry Scholar Award - Tyler Greathouse
Ed Forshey Big Red Award – Brannon Turner
Mason Roberts Heart Award – Zach Blosser
Tom Brock Special Teams Award – Nick Johnson
Buddy James Offensive Player Award – Easton Martin
Receiving MaxPreps Awards were: Special Team (Dakoda Sims), Defense (Noah Weaver), Offense (Easton Martin), Overall (Nick Johnson).
Captains Greathouse, Johnson, Turner and Weaver as well as Chiefs Blozzer and Gossett gave brief speeches and the following seniors were recognized: Blosser, Gossett, Greathouse, Johnson, Sims, Turner, Weaver, Joel Carty, Jared Evans, Ethan Farinash, Henry Hickman, Kendell Leary, Andrew Lebo, Jesse McGrew, Chase Minnite, Michael Osborne, Stevie Scholl, Anthony White and Jarrid Winters.
PHS Now In 8th Place In All-Time Win Rankings
The Parkersburg High School football team is now in eighth in the official national high school all-time win rankings.The four victories earned by the 2015 team left the PHS all-time record to 809 victories and moved the locals back to eighth on the all-time list behind the Canton McKinley (Ohio) Bulldogs, who won seven games last season. The official rankings are published by the National Federation of State High School Associations. PHS is 90 victories behind all-time leader Valdosta, which nipped the city of Parkersburg in the ESPN "Titletown" competition a few years ago.
|All-Time High School Football Wins
|1. Valdosta Wildcats (GA)
|2. Highlands Bluebirds, Ft Thomas (KY)
|3. Male Bulldogs, Louisville (KY
|4. Mayfield Cardinals (KY)
|5. Washington Tigers, Massillon (OH)
|6. Mount Carmel Red Tornadoes (PA)
|7. McKinley Bulldogs, Canton (OH)
|8. Parkersburg Big Reds (WV)
|9. Easton Red Rovers (PA)
|9. Muskegon Big Reds (MI)
|11. Summerville Green Wave (SC)
|12. Everett Crimson Tide (MA)
|13. Berwick Bulldogs (PA)
|13. Highland Park Scots, Dallas (TX)
|15. Hampton Crabbers (VA)
|16. Brockton Boxers (MA)
|16. Ada Cougars (OK)
|18. Lawton Wolverines (OK)
|19. Central Tigers, Little Rock (AR)
|20. East St. Louis Flyers (IL)
|21. Clinton Red Tornadoes (OK)
|22. Steubenville Big Red (OH)
|23. Pine Bluff Zebras (AR)
|24. Dobyns-Bennett Indians, Kingsport (TN)
|25. Bakersfield Drillers (CA)
|26. Paducah Tilghman Blue Tornado (KY)
|27. Sioux Falls Washington Warriors (SD)
|28. New Britain Golden Hurricanes (CT)
(Battle of the 'Burg) Documentary Youtube Video
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.