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Thursday Night Lights
August 22, 2011 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
Prep football kicks off Thursday with a quartet of games at two Ohio Valley venues. After a long summer to prepare, it makes sense to open on Thursday night. One less day to get ready for a week one foe is no problem. The Ohio Valley is prep football crazy. Count me in that group. I see no reason why at least one game couldn't be played every Thursday night of the season. Such a game would prove a cash cow at the gate. Instead of sharing Friday night's or Saturday's stage, a Thursday game would be a magnet to attract neutral fans. This Thursday's twin doubleheaders will be attended by football-starved fans in heavy numbers. Wheeling Island Stadium's twinbill features Wheeling Park vs. New Philadelphia and Cameron vs. Bishop Donahue. The crowd will undoubtedly be swelled by non-partisan spectators. The same can be said of the Harding Stadium doublet of grid offerings as Steubenville and Morgantown tangle followed by Oak Glen and Edison. With staggered starting times for the openers, some fans may visit both venues for the nightcaps. With money being a premium for our local schools, Thursday night football makes good financial sense. I look for Steubenville, Park, Donahue and Oak Glen to emerge victorious on opening night. Friday's game of interest is a battle of Tigers. Shadyside hosts Strasburg. The Belmont County Tigers sustained heavy graduation losses from last year's magical state finals run while Strasburg is expected to be strong. But after watching Shadyside in its Jamboree game against a formidable Martins Ferry squad, Coach Mark Holenka's team appears primed for continued success. Meanwhile, Saturday's highlight game has Bellaire and Wheeling Central tangling at Nelson Field. The Maroon Knights embarrassed the Reds in last year's opener. Jose Davis subsequently turned in one of the best coaching efforts in recent years by regrouping the Big Reds for a 6-4 finish. I expect Bellaire to turn the tables on the Knights this year en route to another winning season.
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